Catholics across the world are quickly learning about Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation. In the Southern Tier, many people were talking about the news as they headed to daily mass. Our Melissa Kakareka has their reaction.
ENDICOTT, N.Y. -- The resignation of Pope Benedict XVI was on the mind of many Catholics Monday. Some parishioners at the Saint Ambrose Church in Endicott were still in disbelief as they headed to daily mass.
"I really couldn't believe it, because other popes, former popes, would stay in office so to speak until they get too sick function I guess. So this was a surprise," said parishioner Marian Castner.
"I am surprised. I wasn't really expecting anything like this," said parishioner Robert Carpenter.
Pope Benedict is the first pope in nearly 600 years to step down from the papacy. And many Catholics we spoke with never thought they would see it happen in their lifetime.
"It's one of those 'I never thought I'd see the day' moments. I never thought I'd see a pope resign," said Rev. Don Bourgeois of the St. Ambrose Parish.
But even though they are shocked, many Catholics say they understand the Pope's decision.
"I think at 85 or 86 it's time for him to leave, because the last pope stayed so long and he got so out of sorts that at the end of his career there was nothing going on at all," said parishioner Jack Castner.
Pope Benedict XVI was elected pontiff in 2005 after the death of Pope John Paul II and has led the Catholic Church for a brief eight years.
"He has been a good pope. I think he succeeded a very charismatic leader and I think that was challenging. I think he met that challenge very well, " said Bourgeois.
Parishioners at Saint Ambrose's Parish say they are keeping Pope Benedict in their prayers.
And they are keeping an eye on who might next lead the Catholic Church.