Change in papacy seen as beneficial
The Nelson Catholic community was shocked this morning by their pontiff's resignation.
Pope Benedict, 89, said he would step down as head of the Roman Catholic Church at the end of this month because he no longer had the mental or physical strength needed to lead the ministry.
John Boyce, principal of Catholic Garin College, said Pope Benedict was getting very old and the Church might benefit from having a younger, more energising person at the helm.
"The man himself has been a very learned pope and his whole career has been marked by the quality of his understanding, so we will miss that - but there are some very important and difficult questions for the Church to address in the next few years and it might be good to have someone who has not been such a leading figure in Church life through the last 50 years to be handling those issues," Mr Boyce said.
Father Michael O'Dea, parish priest at St Mary's Catholic Church, said he preferred to leave media commentary to Wellington-based Archbishop John Dew.
"The only thing I would say is that I think he's [Pope Benedict] come to the realisation that he's getting too tired and too old and it's probably time he did come to that realisation."
Archbishop of Wellington John Dew said Pope Benedict had come across as wonderfully warm and gentle, despite expectations when he was elected that he would take a hard approach.
"Obviously it was a decision he made, as he said, after much thought and prayer and examining his own conscience, wanting to be able to do the best for the church throughout the world."
- © Fairfax NZ News