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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — For about one billion Catholics around the world, the news of Pope Benedict XVI resigning came as a big surprise. The same was true for the Catholic Diocese in Raleigh. “I was absolutely stunned and surprised. There were no indicators I saw,” Bishop Michael Burbidge said.

After an eight-year tenure, the 85-year old pope said his strength had detoriated and that he could no longer adequately fulfill the duty entrusted to him.

Parishioner Paul Townend says although the development was shocking, it doesn’t seem out of the pope’s nature to withdraw his commitment after feeling like he could no longer reach the people in a personal way. “Being able to show up places and physically be there, I think he really understood how important that was.”

The German cardinal was elected in 2005. He had some big shoes to fill as the successor of the beloved John Paul II. Bishop Burbidge says the pope brought a new approach to the position. “I think when Benedict was elected, it allowed the church to be serene, to be calm and benedict guided the church beautifully.”

Moving forward, the bishop says the next pope will likely come from the school of cardinals and leaders will depend on divine appointment. “We will be praying intensely towards that very moment and that’s our role, to entrust the church to the one to whom it belongs, Christ.”

Pope Benedict’s nearly eight-year tenure was one of the shortest in Catholic history.

Comment on this Story

  • Guest CommonTater

    Those here know your “direction” and you are the idiot for what you believe.. or rather don’t. See how that works? Probably not.

  • Guesttenheimer

    MAJ, once again your illustrious method of displaying your complete ignorance is stellar!!! You are SO good at it. Show us more? I’m sure you will!

  • Das Weibstück

    Guesttenheimer will call you a lowly, trough groveling swine-hound and accuse you of hating the church because you are gay. Hysterical.

  • WilmingtonMAJ

    I’m sorry…but the pope and in general the catholic church is full of morons. They actively preach against the use of condoms and birth control, things that would vastly decrease the spread of disease and unwanted pregnancies. For that alone they are stupid. Add in the pedophilia and belief in a the sky fairy…case closed

  • WilmingtonMAJ

    So does that mean you support a lack of condom use and pedophilia? Are you a member of NAMBLA as well…not that the catholic priesthood and NAMBLA are that different…i’m pretty sure there is a lot of crossover in their membership roster. Out of curiousity what do you disagree with exactly? The facts remain that the catholic church opposes condom use, has actively covered up child sexual abuse. Am I a gay athiest…you bet. Frankly though, even a straight christian should be able to tell what a corrupt and ignorant organization the catholic church is. I will preface this by saying there are thousands of dedicated and pious priests who do good works and have unfortunately been tainted by the church’s overall negative perception. Yet again, though, a person who is willing to align themselves with such an organization is questionable in my opinion. I have no respect for any organized religion, and i find those that believe in them to be weak minded individuals who can’t seem to think for themselves. I don’t think of those that follow a religion as a “bad person” though…just weak.

    So take THAT! ;)

  • Vog46

    While Bishop Burbidge makes a sound argument, in a time of tumultuous legal wranglings with pedophilia charges the Church did NOT need serenity – it needed a take charge type of leader. One who was not going to back down from the charges but would attack them, head on – deal with them and deal with the people who tried to hide the priests from the law.
    It was a time that demanded openness and contriteness. What we got was silence and obfuscation. As a Church they failed us and now when you say the word “priest” a vision of a sexual predator comes to mind instead of a healer and a man of faith. Yet, when you talk to the priests in your parishes you get exactly that – the feeling you’re in the presence of a healer.
    I feel bad for those in the priesthood right now for they are being unfairly compared to criminals. Time will heal this, but the healing could have been faster had the Church acted strongly and openly.
    It is my hope that we elect THAT type of person to the papacy……..



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