Local Vicar Reacts to Pope Resignation

Local Vicar Reacts to Pope Resignation Click to Enlarge Photo:

Feb 12, 2013 at 9:34 am

ST. CLOUD, Minn. (KNSI) - The shock was felt around the world yesterday as Pope Benedict, formerly Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, announced his decision to resign his position at the end of the month.

Father Bob Rolfes, Vicar General of the St. Cloud Diocese, says like most other Catholics, he was stunned to learn the 85 year old Pope was stepping down for health reasons - the first papal resignation in six centuries. Rolfes says, even though the move is unorthodox, the reactions from most Catholics have been supportive.

"Some of the comments I've heard, online and in the papers, say it was a courageous act," Rolfes says. "They're saying it was something he did for the good of the church."

However, Rolfes says the move does potentially affect the Diocese of St. Cloud in the near-term. A new bishop hasn't yet been appointed for our area, following the retirement of Bishop John Kinney last year.

"The process of appointing a new Bishop could be somewhat delayed," Rolfes says. "If the task falls to the new Pope, he'll probably wait and get his feet on the ground before making the appointment."

 Rolfes says it's possible Benedict could still choose a new bishop before February 28th.

Rolfes says the new pope will be elected by a handful of cardinals from around the world, and should be in place by March. He says he doesn't have any ideas as to whom might be tapped to take on the role.

Pope Benedict was elected Pope in 2005 at the age of 78, one of the oldest new popes in history.

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