KALAMAZOO, MI (WTVB) - Reaction today across West Michigan to Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation announcement in Rome as the 85-year old pontiff will step down at the end of the month. Bishop Paul Bradley of the Kalamazoo Diocese, which includes Branch County, called the decision a sign of humility and great wisdom. Bradley said he was also surprised by the news.
However, Bishop Walter Hurley, head of the Grand Rapids Diocese, said that followers shouldn’t have been that surprised by the move. The Pope said that his strengths due to advanced age are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. Hurley added it may hold up his own resignation plans that he submitted to the Vatican last spring, as Reverend Hurley was waiting on the Pontiff to name a successor. According to Hurley, the common parishioner shouldn’t see much of a change ahead of Pope Benedict’s February 28th departure.
The College of Cardinals congregates in Vatican City next month to decide the next pontiff.