Shock, Questions in Metro-Atlanta as Pope Benedict XVI Resigns

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

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

Archdiocese of Atlanta Archbishop Wilton Gregory will hold a press conference at 1 p.m. today at 2401 Lake Park Drive, in Smyrna, to address questions and concerns. Local churches, including Snellville's St. Oliver Plunkett, are not authorized to comment on the situation. 

"It’s very new," said Meaghan Schroeder, assistant communications director for the Archdiocese of Atlanta. "Everyone's just trying to digest it all."

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. 

The largest Catholic congregation in Snellville is St. Oliver Plunkett, on Brooks Drive. Georgia Rep. and former Snellville mayor Brett Harrell is part of the St. Oliver Plunkett congregation. He said he too was surprised by the Pope's resignation.

"From what I am reading, it is a health issue and the Pope does not believe he has the physical ability to serve over a billion adherents as their needs require," Harrell said.

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


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