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Pope To Resign: Herndon, Northern VA Catholics React

Catholic Church head is first Pope to step down in 600 years. What's your reaction and where does the church go from here?

Pope Benedict XVI announced on Monday that he will step down from his position Feb. 28, citing failing strength of “mind and body."

He will be the first pontiff to resign since 1415, the Washington Post reports.

"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," the Pope said in a statement.

"I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, 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, formerly Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now 85, was selected in April 2005 after the death of the very popular and charismatic Pope John Paul II. Pope Benedict was 78 at the time - the oldest person in more than 200 years chosen to head the church.

Benedict's reign has been distracted by clerical abuse scandals and Vatican internal struggles.

What's your reaction to the news? What should the Cardinals look for in the next Pope? Will we see the first non-European pontiff? How will the change affect Catholics around the world and right in your Northern Virginia church? Tell us in the comments below.

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Leslie Perales Loges (Editor) February 11, 2013 at 08:57 PM
What say you, dear readers? Do you think this could lead to some changes in the Catholic Church?
Dave Webster February 11, 2013 at 09:55 PM
I don't foresee any changes in Church doctrine. The only change might be picking a younger Pope.
Cris Portugal February 12, 2013 at 02:58 AM
We belong to the Church that Christ founded, the one that he leads by the Holy Spirit, one more time, we are asked to use and exercise our faith and to let our God work in those ways that are beyond our understanding. Evrything happens for a reason and soon enough we will see God's purpose and mighty hand in the solution to this matter
James February 12, 2013 at 04:03 AM
Not sure Leslie, I just hope that there is more accountability with the child sex abuse issues from the archdiocese. The church’s inadequate response was pretty bad.
Sean Moran February 12, 2013 at 12:37 PM
Let us not forget that he was chosen as more of an interim pick and that was noted when he was chosen. I am confident a younger Pope will be chosen this time. I don't think Benedict did much in the way of building the Catholic church, so hopefully the next Pope will be a strong charismatic man of God.

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