On Monday morning, the Vatican announced that Pope Benedict XVI plans to resign at the end of February after eight years of service.
This is the first time in 600 years that a pope has resigned, rather than die, while in office, according to a CNN report. The pope, who is 85-years-old, said he is resigning due to advanced age.
Father Brian Plate at St. Teresa of Avila Roman Catholic Church in Summit made the following statement:
"Pope Benedict XVI served the church for over six decades. I am sure this decision was made in prayer for the benefit of the church. While surprising, this is an example of the virtue of humility and service. We pray for him with gratitude."
Robert Costello, Head of Oratory Prep — a Roman Catholic school in Summit for boys in grades 7-12 within the Archdiocese of Newark — said he thinks the pope’s resignation is shocking, yet courageous.
“It’s shocking just because its unprecedented. You’re going back before Columbus to the last time there was a resignation,” Costello told Patch. “But I also think that if you know you’re slowing down while you can impart some wisdom and knowledge to the successor, I think it’s a pretty courageous thing to do.”
With any topic of this nature, Costello said it can spark discussion and he expects it will be used as an educational tool in Oratory Prep history and religion classes in the coming weeks, focusing on the process for succession.
Editor's Note: Check back for more reaction to this news from religious educators, pastors and residents in Summit.