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After Pope resigns, Catholics speculate on the future

Pope Benedict XVI announces his resignation
Pope Benedict XVI announces his resignation
L'Osservatore Romano - Vatican Pool via Getty Images

Catholics in the Detroit area reacted universally to the news that Pope Benedict XVI will resign on Feb. 28: they were surprised.

"It has been 600 years since a Pope has resigned and most people, even Catholics, did not think it was possible!" said Janet Sheerin at St. Mary of the Hills Catholic Church. Due to health concerns the Pontiff declared his intention to step down from his office.

“I was stunned!’ said Fr. Stan Ulman, the head of the Pontiac Vicariate who seemed to speak for everyone. “It was unexpected.”

The suddenness of Pope Benedict’s Feb. 11 announcement created a media scramble with dissident groups viewing the resignation as an opportunity to promote their cause.

Ave Maria Radio offered conservative Catholic guests who praised Pope Benedict’s Theological gifts and strong leadership in stark contrast to the mainstream media sources who pulled interviews from ‘progressive’ Catholic groups (DignityUSA, Rainbow Sash, Equally Blessed) suggesting that the time has come for leadership that would embrace a non-celibate priesthood, women’s ordination, gay marriage and contraception.

The disparity only proves to emphasize the need for the Church to focus their energies on evangelization surmised the guests on Al Kresta’s, ‘Kresta in the Afternoon’. “What we need most is an evangelizer,” said Jimmy Akin, Apologist at Catholic Answers. Dr. Ralph Martin, agreed, suggesting that what we might need right now is a vigorous and dynamic Pope who would communicate effectively with the world, to focus on the pressing need for evangelization.

When asked who was favored for the office, Fr. Ulman had no guess. “Where Catholic growth has shifted from Europe to places like Asia, Africa and Latin America, I can see the possibility of drawing candidates from those places,” he said.

Detroit Archbishop Alan Vigneron called for prayer, “I invite all Catholics to pray all the more ardently for the Holy Father Pope Benedict.”

Lay leader, Christine McGowan, echoed, “I feel strongly the need to unite in prayer for Pope Benedict in the next few weeks, as well as for the College of Cardinals and our Church as a whole.”

Regional Evangelization Coordinator in the Archdiocese of Detroit, Fr. Alex Kratz, reminds Catholics to have faith: “When Cardinal Ratzinger became pope he said the following:

‘I consider this a grace obtained for me by my venerated predecessor, John Paul II. It seems I can feel his strong hand squeezing mine; I seem to see his smiling eyes and listen to his words, addressed to me especially at this moment: ‘Do not be afraid!'

“I think Pope Benedict is now saying the same to us. The Holy Spirit, who always guides the Church, will find a new ‘Peter’ to guide the Barque of salvation in the waters of truth and salvation,” said Fr. Kratz.


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