After 8 years of service, the Vatican announced early Monday that Pope Benedict XVI would resign at the end of the month.
Rev. John J. Paladino, Pastor of St. Bartholomew the Apostle Church in Scotch Plains said this is just a sign of how humble and selfless the Pope is.
“He sincerely believes that this is for the good of the Church. In his own words, "I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me,"” Paladino stated. “Those are difficult words for anyone to admit.”
In a CNN report Benedict, 85, said he is unable to fulfill the ministry due to advanced age. This is the first time a Pope has stepped down in 600 years, according to reports.
"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," said Benedict in the CNN report obtained from the Vatican.
Diane McGee Pastoral Associate for Religious Education and Formation at St. Bartholomew’s said it was very much a surprise to hear the Pope resigned.
“I understand Pope Benedict’s reasons for resigning and it speaks to the kind of leader he is for the 1 billion Catholics worldwide,” McGee said. “It takes courage and faith to resign and see a new successor elected particularly since there is no precedent for this.”
McGee said this gives a unique opportunity for teaching the children about the pope’s role in the church and the election process for a new pope.
“The children of our church community will be a witness to a historical moment and it is always a sign of hope in the church when change occurs,” she added.
Paladino said he hopes that Benedict can feel through their prayers, the gratitude and the faithful service he has given to the Church during his life.
Check back with scotchplains.patch.com as we update this article with more information from pastors, religious educators and Catholics in Scotch Plains.
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