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Pope's Resignation Draws Mixed Reaction Around Cumming

His resignation will go into effect on Feb. 28, and a successor should be named by Easter.

Pope Benedict XVI announced Monday that he is resigning, effective Feb. 28.

Reaction of at least one local clergyman says it comes as a surprise.

"On the one hand, it is surprising news, as we don’t have experience of a pope resigning within our lifetime," said  "On the other hand, church law and practice foresee this possibility, and it has happened in the past."

"More deeply, I believe it shows the thoughtfulness and humble service of Pope Benedict. He has always seen his Papacy as a service to the Lord and his fellow Catholics and Christians. In 2005, Pope Benedict accepted his election to an office he neither sought nor hoped for. He considered that it was the Lord asking him to serve, and now he longer sees himself in a position to serve fruitfully due to health."

Upon hearing the news Monday morning,  said it is a time to pray for the pope and the church in general.

"This maybe goes along very well with Lent, which is a special time of prayer and that prayer will help the church in its decision making at this point," he said.

Local residents commenting on the Cumming Patch Facebook page had this to say about the news.

"Something's up," said Tere Egart Woodson.

Brittany Carring said it was a, "smart decision if he is sick," while Amy Delgado Liles is suspicious of the news saying, "I think when people step down/resign for "health reasons" or to "spend more time with family" there's a scandal on the horizon."

The pope's resignation letter reads in part:

"After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry... in today's world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me..."

Pope Benedict XVI was born in 1927, in Bavaria, as Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger, and is the 265th pope. The last pope to resign was Gregory XII, in 1415. 

As far as next steps for the Catholic Church Fr. Presutti said it means there will be a Conclave to elect a new Pope.

"This happens whenever a current serving pope dies or ends his term, as is the case for Pope Benedict," he said. "The Catholic Church has been doing this for centuries, and although the particular historical and personal circumstance change from election to election, this will not be the first nor last time that a Conclave of Cardinals will be convened for the election of a new pope."

Liz Kennedy contributed to this article.

How do you feel about his resignation? As a Catholic, what impact will this have on your life? 

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