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Pope to Resign February 28

***UPDATE 6:35 P.M.***Pope Benedict’s announcement Monday morning sent shock waves throughout the Catholic Church and the world. Benedict was elected pope in April, 2005. About three years later he made his only tour of the U.S. The first signs of his declining health began in 2011 when he announced he had arthritis. That’s when he began using a cane. ABC 17 News caught up with officials in the diocese in Jefferson City who say this shouldn’t affect any church operations.”The local bishops take care of the day to day and the pastors in the various parishes so there certainly won’t be any immediate dramatic impact in any of the parishes in our diocese,” Dan Joyce with the Jefferson City Diocese explains.Many also attended noon masses around Mid-Missouri to send their prayers to the pope. Some churches dedicated the mass to Benedict. Almost everybody we talked with tell us they were shocked to hear the pope was resigning. But some with the Catholic Church are looking at this in a different way saying they’re excited for a new chapter. Many church goers tell us this is only going to make the church stronger as a whole.”There are many, many problems that need to be faced and I don’t think it helps to have someone lingering in sickness and poor health,” Jean Souchek says as she came out of noon mass.Even priests were surprised about the resignation even though there were rumblings about this two years ago.”Just as the historical fact, we have not had a pope resign for 600 years, it’s just the mere fact you have him do it, I didn’t think he would do it,” Father Thomas Saucier explains.Others tell us they’re eager to see who is going to take over the position next.”Who it’s going to be I think is going to be interesting. If it is a young pope, or if they’re going to pick someone who’s older again, or I don’t think it will be an American, but if it’s somewhere other than Europe will be really interesting to watch,” Lisa Kendzior tells ABC 17 News as she leaves the St. Thomas More Newman Center.As many took note that the pope’s declining health is a main factor, they say this is actually courageous move on the pope’s part. Priests say after trying to look into the meaning of this, they believe this was a great example of leadership.”Realizing that [Pope Benedict} is not able to fulfill this and this is something entrusted to me by God and [Benedict] need to let go of that,” Saucier says.Priests and the diocese have said everything is still going to go on as normal even when the pope resigns at the end of February.***UPDATE 10:01 A.M.***ABC 17 News reached out to the Diocese of Jefferson City for their reaction to the announcement. Bishop John R. Gaydos provided the following statement: As our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, prepares to retire from his ministry as Universal Pastor of theChurch, all of the people of God in our Diocese of Jefferson City offer fervent thanks to God for thenearly eight years that Pope Benedict has exercised the Petrine ministry. He has taught clearly andwisely, he has ruled gently and firmly, he has prayed with and for us and the whole world.I am grateful that our Holy Father has come to this prayerful decision, and ask all of our Local Churchand all people of good will to join together in praying to God for the guidance and strength of the Holy Spirit during this time of transition for the Catholic Church throughout the world.***ORIGINAL STORY***VATICAN CITY (AP) – Pope Benedict XVI announced Monday that he would resign Feb. 28 – the first pontiff to do so in nearly 600 years. The decision sets the stage for a conclave to elect a new pope before the end of March.The 85-year-old pope announced his decision in Latin during a meeting of Vatican cardinals on Monday morning.He emphasized that carrying out the duties of being pope – the leader of more than a billion Roman Catholics worldwide – requires “both strength of mind and body.””After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths due to an advanced age are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry,” he told the cardinals. “I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only by words and deeds but no less with prayer and suffering.”However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of St. Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary – strengths 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.”The last pope to resign was Pope Gregory XII, who stepped down in 1415 in a dea

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