Resignation of pope Benedict stuns most; not unexpected by inner circle
Pontiff's frail health noted in recent years
At the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace in Honolulu, some were hearing for the first time, that Pope Benedict XVI had done the unthinkable and resigned.
"It's no wonder the responsibilities are so great, at his age, it's just a little too much," said Rev. John Berger, who held Monday's mass at the church.
In 2005, Benedict, at the age of 78, was the oldest pope elected in 275 years and the first German in nearly 1,000 years.
He was also known to be shy and solitary.
Rev. Gary Secor, vicar general of the Roman Catholic Church of Hawaii, said it was who Benedict was as a person that may have given him the strength to make such a rare move.
"It's a great testament to the Holy Father's humility and his deep concern for the church that he would make this decision," said Secor.
It's unclear what's going to happen next, but Secor said it's likely the Pope will be named the pope Emeritus of Rome; he'll be in the Summer Residence temporarily and then move to the Monastery in Rome.
Even though it stunned most people, Pope Benedict now 85, was dealing not only with the job's immense daily pressures, but in his eight-year tenure, faced deep betrayal, when his own butler was convicted of stealing his personal papers.
"It was just a great insight he had within himself that he cannot continue to do the work that needs to be done," said Sister Alicia Damien Lau, who was part of a large group from Hawaii who flew to Italy in October for the canonization of Mother Marianne Cope.
She was one of the few who met him face to face.
"We were just praying that he was well enough to be able to have the canonization and to perform the ceremony and he did," she said.
She said she is grateful for the work he has done for Hawaii, but she too, saw a man who was worn down.
"I trust god is going to raise up someone who will be able to respond to these demands," said Secor.
Since the world is dealing with the resignation, instead of the death of a pope, Secor said a new Holy Father could be chosen fairly quickly.
Pope Benedict said he will retire on Feb. 28th.
He said cardinals are expected to meet by Mid-March and he believes the world may have a new pope by Easter.
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