Pope Benedict XVI announced Monday that he is resigning, effective Feb. 28.
Tucker Patch readers shared their views on Monday through Facebook: "I'm glad that he had the foresight to step down if he didn't feel that he was able to fulfill his role as pope. It takes a great person to admit that they aren't able, and I have great respect for him and his decision. I just sincerely hope that he is OK, medically speaking," said Susan Gilchrist.
Another reader, Kathleen Stevens, said, "I do admire Pope Benedict for saying he is just not up to the demands. Hope that is the true reason."
Mary Ellen Sheehan, a church deacon, said, "we need a massive change in the Catholic Church. With John Paul the second and Benedict the Catholic Church has regressed and insists on being irrelevant. The American Catholic bishops need to be speaking out on social issues in line with the great social encyclicals. Change in the Catholic Church, like climate change, is inevitable."
Archdiocese of Atlanta Archbishop Wilton Gregory held a press conference Monday afternoon to address questions and concerns.
“This announcement has sparked widespread surprise but also a great outpouring of prayers and affection for the Holy Father. His stated reasons for resigning are his frailty as a result of age and his desire to make sure that the Church has a Pontiff with the energy and stamina to carry on the heavy burdens that come with the Office of Pope," stated Archbishop Gregory.
The pope's resignation letter reads in part:
"After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry... In today's world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me..."
Pope Benedict XVI, born in 1927 in Bavaria as Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger, is the 265th pope. The last pope to resign was Gregory XII, in 1415.
How do you feel about Pope Benedict XVI's resignation?