KALAMAZOO, MI (WTVB) - It hasn't happened in hundreds of years and Catholics all over are reacting to the announcement by Pope Benedict that he will step down this month.
Leaders of the Catholic church are expressing shock and support following Monday's unexpected announcement by Pope Benedict that he will step down on February 28. He'll become the first pontiff to abdicate in 600 years. The Most Reverend Paul Bradley is the bishop of the Diocese of Kalamazoo, which covers southwest Michigan, and says it was a "monumental and unforeseen decision."
Benedict, who is 85, had said previously that he would resign if he became too old or infirm to carry on. The Vatican says he has no specific medical condition and remains fully lucid. Bishop Bradley says with as close as Pope Benedict was to Pope John Paul II, he may have also decided to not continue until his death.