The 85-year-old head of the Catholic Church Pope Benedict XVI shocked the world when he decided to leave a job normally held for life. Benedict said he is too old to continue his job and will resign on Feb. 28, making him the first pope to step down in nearly 600 years.
Benedict explained the job called for “both strength of mind and body” and said his retirement is “for the good of the church.”
While the successor for Benedict is still an open question, there are a lot of voices to call for a Latin American pope since Latin America is a home to the world’s largest Roman Catholic population. The election for a new pope is scheduled before Easter this year.
During his years of service in the Catholic Church, Benedict is well-known by objecting “calls for a debate on the issue of clerical celibacy and reaffirmed the ban on Communion for divorced Catholics who remarry. He has also said the Church’s strict positions on abortion, euthanasia, and gay partnerships were ‘not negotiable,’” says BBC News.
Although it does not directly affect the LDS Church, ten out of ten BYU-Hawaii students said they have heard about the news about Benedict’s resignation.
“If it was our President Monson, all Mormons would have been shocked,” said Lily Durose, an exercise science senior from California. “It wouldn’t shake my faith though, but it would be a surprise.”
Ellen Lo, an accounting senior from Hong Kong, said, “It is understandable that the pope wants to retire. 85 is pretty old. It makes me appreciate President Monson more. He is almost the same age, but he is still strong and serving in the church.”
Elizabeth Davis, an international cultural studies senior from Arkansas, also expressed her surprise about the news. “I didn’t know he could [resign]. I think it is good the pope realized he is old and won’t able to fulfill the job. It is better to have other people take care of his duty.”