Catholics here in Central Texas were surprised to hear the news of Pope Benedict's resignation. It's almost unheard of and surprising to local Roman Catholics. Central Texas Catholics tell us what they have to say about soon having a new pope.
Pope Benedict's decision to resign as the Head of the Catholic Church is shocking Catholics all around the world, even here in Central Texas.
"It was very surprising," said life long Catholic, Buzz Gilliland. "There hadn't been any indication that the Pope was considering that."
Even Father Richard O'Rourke, a Pastor in Harker Heights, didn't see it coming. "Absolute surprise. It took me by surprise. I never thought that pope would, in my time, resign," he said.
But Dr. Tony Martin, a professor of Christian Studies at the University of Mary Hardin Baylor says this may be a smart move for Pope Benedict. "There had been a movement in the church earlier that suggests that Cardinals resign at the age of 80, and the Pope, I believe is 84, so I'm sure he's in touch with that reality," he said.
The Pope says he isn't in good health. Though after nearly 8 years, Catholics have embraced him. Gilliland even hopes his successor is just like Pope Benedict. "I'd be happy with that," he said." I've been very happy with him as a pope. I think he's been very thoughtful in what he's done."
"Interestingly enough, Pope Benedict decided to resign during what the church has declared, "The Year of Faith" one that he, himself, proclaimed.