SANDY, Utah -- The announcement that Pope Benedict XVI will resign at the end of the month marks the first time in nearly 600 years a pope has stepped down, and local Catholics have shared their thoughts on his decision.
Monsignor Robert Servatius of the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Sandy, Utah said the pope’s announcement was a surprise, but not necessarily a shock. He also said the announcement shouldn’t be cause for sorrow.
“I don’t think it’s a sad day,” he said. “You know, he has given us several years of leadership, wonderful leadership. I think we should be gratified that he realizes he can’t do the job the way he feels it should be done.”
Servatius said Catholic cardinals will elect the next pope, but that process will be steered by God.
“It's going to be God’s decision, you know, the cardinals will pray about it and think about it, there will be people that they favor, but ultimately the one who is elected—it’s the Holy Spirit who has guided that,” he said.
Servatius said the faithful should focus on Pope Benedict’s love and warmth for people and know that the Catholic Church will continue on.
“The reality is he is going to resign,” he said. “There's going to be a certain preparation for that over the next two and a half weeks or so. A conclave will be held, a new pope will be elected and the church will go on.”