According to Reuters.com, Pope Benedict announced Monday that he will resign on Feb 28. The 85-year-old pope is unable to fulfill the duties of his office, Reuters said, because he is does not have the strength.
Benedict is the first pontiff to resign since the Middle Ages, according to Reuters.
"I was very surprised to hear about the resignation of Pope Benedict, especially since I believe there hasn't been a pope who has resigned in 600 years," Rev. Dr. Richard Hughes from Union Congregational Church said. "We at the Union Congregational Church will certainly keep our Catholic sisters and brothers in our prayers as they go through this time of discernment and prepare to elect a new spiritual leader."
Father Gillespie from Saint Theresa's Parish said that he was not surprised to hear that the pope had resigned. After seeing him on television during the Christmas mass and other occasions, Gillespie could see that his health was failing.
"I can't help but imagine there is pressure and energy that he has to deal with on a daily basis," he said.
He believes that the pope has a schedule just as demanding as a corporate executive.
"I admire him for doing it, it takes a lot of courage," Gillespie said.
When asked about the popes leadership he said, "I think overall he's done a fine job; he's a great teacher. Gillespie also commented on the pope's "well done books."
When asked what he would like to see in a new pope, Gillespie said, "It would be nice to see that international sense of the church continued and maybe widen, someone who is not European would be an interesting choice."