No fears for turmoil - Timaru priest

ESTHER ASHBY-COVENTRY
Last updated 11:47 12/02/2013
STANDING DOWN:  Pope Benedict will resign on February 28.
Reuters
STANDING DOWN: Pope Benedict will resign on February 28.

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Reaction to Pope Benedicts XVl's unexpected resignation today has been one of surprise and shock among Timaru Catholics.

Father Brian Fennessey of the Timaru Holy Family Parish, which includes Waimate, said he liked the Pope's gentleness.

He discounted predicted turmoil in the church due to this the first resignation in 600 years.

Fears of tension between Pope Benedict seen as a conservative voice and a new pope who may be more liberal is unlikely to be an issue, he said.

''If a pope retires, he withdraws from the public scene and has no authority. The next pope appointed has governance.''

There is no New Zealand input into selection of a new pope as Cardinal Tom Williams Archbishop Emeritus of Wellington, who was part of Pope Benedict's conclave, is over 80 which is past the age threshold to be involved.

A new New Zealand cardinal is unlikely to be installed until Cardinal Williams dies.    

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- The Timaru Herald

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