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Catholics react to news of Pope’s resignation

Senior Staff Writer

Published: Thursday, February 14, 2013

Updated: Friday, August 23, 2013 16:08

Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation on Feb. 11, shocking the Catholic community only days before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent.

He is the first pope to resign in almost 600 years. The last time a pope resigned was Pope Gregory XII in 1415. Benedict resigned because he felt that he did not have the strength to continue as the church’s leader, saying, “I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer” enough to carry on with the leadership of the Catholic Church.

Catholic UConn students have had strong reactions to the Pope’s resignation.

“I think it is very humbling of him [to resign] because he is not in the condition to carry out the responsibilities,” said Brian Ciezynski, an 8th-semester chemical engineering major and practicing Catholic. “I see it as him just responding to God’s will, based on the health condition he is currently in. I don’t see it as a bad thing for the church. Although it is uncommon, it’s not frowned upon.”

Benedict’s final day as a pope will be on Feb. 28, and he will have his last audience viewing in Vatican City on St. Peter’s Square the day before. It is still unclear who will succeed him. The College of Cardinals will soon meet to elect his replacement, and they hope to have a new pope in place before Easter.

Meredith Falvey, an 8th-semester biology major and copy editor at The Daily Campus, said she was surprised by his resignation, especially days before the beginning of Lent.

“No one saw it coming,” Falvey said. “He wasn’t my favorite pope and I didn’t feel too much of a connection with him, but it is sad that he had to resign. But he is older and could not keep up with the times. He hasn’t done a lot of traveling since he is too old.”

Falvey said she believes the fact that Benedict was not in sync with the current generation may have led to his relinquish of his title. She hoped that the next pope would be able to keep up with today’s society.

Ciezynski believed that the Pope was attempting to lead the Church back to a more traditional form of worship, reminiscent of the era before the Second Vatican Council.

Edgar Cabrera, an 8th-semester human development and family studies major, said he was indifferent to the changes that the Pope made to the Catholic Church.

“Throughout time, no one is ever going to agree,” Cabrera said. “[The pope’s resignation] should not be so over-dramatized. The pope is only a human being. And as a Catholic, [I believe that] the pope is given his position on God’s will. There are times when people are called to step down from a vocation, and the Pope shouldn’t be an exception. There’s a misconception that our faith is based on the Pope, but it’s actually the relation that one has with Christ that entails Catholicism.” 

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