By Erin Leach |Staff Writer|
Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation last Monday, Feb. 11 after eight years of service.
“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,” said Pope Benedict XVI according to the Vatican.
Past popes have had difficulty with their health, however this has been the first resignation in 600 years. Many people believe that despite his condition, other factors may have contributed to his decision as well.
The news shocked the Catholic population around the globe due to this unprecedented event.
“This is historical, and in the long run, better for the church as a whole,” said CSUSB faculty member Patrick Areffi.
Theories regarding the pope’s reasons vary.
Catholicism has been in the public eye recently since the molestation accusations in recent years.
According to a U.S. News report, “There have been more than 6,100 accused priests since 1950, more than 16,000 victims identified to date, $2.5 billion in settlements and therapy bills for victims, attorneys fees and costs to care for priests pulled out of ministry from 2004 to 2011.”
This major issue coupled with the fact that times are changing from the church’s traditional values. Criticisms of many may have forced him to believe that he was no longer the best leader for a billion Catholics around the globe.
Student Byanet Hermosillo said “I think it’s a matter of not being able to continue to fulfill his duties. Being able to hold a leadership position such as this one, isn’t a walk in the park. It entails a great deal of physical, mental and spiritual work.”
“I feel like there comes a time in everyone’s life when a person needs to make decisions with him or herself in mind and obligations to others become less important,” agreed student Jackie Aboud.
According to CNN, rumors had been floating around that Pope Benedict’s old school interpretation of the faith was troubling for progressive times.
“Before Easter, we will have the new pope,” said Vatican spokesperson Rev. Federico Lombardi.
Qualities that may be sought in the new elect are less adherence to old traditions and rules, and the acceptance of other types of peoples into the church.
Student Aaron Jimenez says, “I think that what he did was admirable. As far as his replacement goes, I would like to see someone with some diversity maybe from Africa or Latin America.”
CSUSB students seem to have been affected little by the changes in Italy.
“The pope serves as the shining example for the Catholic church, so his actions are watched very closely. As of now I don’t see his resigning having a monumental effect on the daily lives of Catholics, but only time will tell,” said student Daisy Ramos.
According the The Australian, the pope plans to live near the Vatican after his official resignation.
His last day will be Feb. 28.