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Pittsburgh Area Catholic Leaders React to Pope Benedict XVI’s Resignation

Local Catholic leaders were surprised by the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI on Monday morning, but also called it a “powerful move” of strength by the pope for the church.

Local Catholic leaders were surprised by the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI on Monday morning, but also called it a “powerful move” of strength by the pope for the church.

Sister Barbara Anne Quinn, principal of Holy Child Catholic School in Bridgeville, said she thinks the decision had to be a difficult one, but was in the best interest of the church.

“To me, I was surprised given the fact that it hasn’t happened in 600 years,” she said. “I think it shows a very spiritual person who recognizes what was needed and doing what (he thinks is best).”

The fact that is hasn’t happened since the 15th century is mind-boggling, she said, although it shows the church is not “stuck in a mold.”

“It was a very powerful move and shows that the church is alive,” Sister Quinn said. “I think it says something for the whole process that the church isn’t stuck in a mold.”

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The Rev. Jay Donahue, pastor of Sts. Simon & Jude Church in Scott Township, suspects Pope Benedict looked back at the last years of Pope John Paul II’s lengthy tenure and decided it was not in the church’s best interest for him to remain.

“I think the pope is setting a startling example of humility,” he said. “Here he is leading the world’s biggest church, and he looks at his own physicality and says he’s not up to it anymore. So many people want to be leaders, and he’s saying he needs to step down.”

Rev. Donahue also posted a formal statement on the church's website about the pope's decision. Click here to read the full statement on Sts. Simon & Jude's website.

According to the AP, the 85-year-old pontiff announced his decision in Latin during a meeting of Vatican cardinals Monday morning, citing his "advanced age and diminishing strength." The pope, leader of more than a billion Roman Catholics worldwide, emphasized that the duties require "both strength of mind and body." Born Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI was chosen in 2005 at 78 to succeed the late Pope John Paul II.

“It tells us that God is leading all of us what we feel is best for our ministries,” Sister Quinn said. “It surely took a lot prayer to come to that decision. It’s truly amazing and certainly we wish the best for him and the cardinals who will be selecting (the next pope).”

A conclave could elect a new pope by mid-March, the AP reports.

"It caught everybody off guard," Diocese of Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "There is a certain sadness I feel because of his resignation. I do admire him. I admire the teaching that he shared so much with the church. I think he wouldn't come to a decision that was as important as this one without a considerable amount of prayer. He wants only the very best for the church and would submit his resignation based on his love for the church."

How do you feel about the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI? Tell us in the comments section

JR February 11, 2013 at 03:11 PM
His Holiness made the right decision for the Church and himself as he recognized his own abilities to lead the Church in today's world. May he enjoy the remainder of his life.
Pauline Donnelly February 11, 2013 at 03:23 PM
I'm not Catholic, but I admire those who step down if they think they can't be as effective as they need to be. It shows a sense of servant leadership - filling the position to serve, not to be served. I wish him well, and hope the next pope can move the Catholic Church along the path that Jesus intends.
Mike P. February 12, 2013 at 04:55 AM
“I think it says something for the whole process that the church isn’t stuck in a mold.” Perhaps the new pope will welcome contraception usage, allow gay marriage, and rescind the command (made by this pope) for Catholics to not help the police catch child molesting priests... though I doubt that will happen.
Pauline Donnelly February 12, 2013 at 05:20 AM
I agree with you, Mike - child-molesting priests should be prosecuted; however, the Bible specifically speaks against same-sex activity in Romans 1:26-27.
Mike P. February 13, 2013 at 03:46 PM
And you follow every word in the bible? Every one? I find that unlikely. I'm quite sure you disagree that the "punishment" for a rapist is to buy the woman he raped (as described in Deuteronomy 22:28-29). I'm quite sure you disagree that slavery is acceptable (as condoned in Exodus 21:2-11 and Ephesians 6:5) I don't see you killing people for working on the Sabbath as is called for in Exodus 31:12-15. The point is you ignore many things listed in the bible (I didn't even talk about the odd requirements in Leviticus that no one follows), so why are you so hung up about gay people? It is time for the church to wake up and start accepting all of humanity regardless of their genetics and birth.
Roger February 13, 2013 at 06:59 PM
Mike P, when I see these kinds of posts, it reveals how little you understand about the Bible, interpretation, what to do with commands. The red flag goes up immediately when quoting Old Testament passages regarding certain segments of the Law. Mike, what is your belief system, on what is it based, and why? What is your source of absolute truth? While I appreciate your interest, I suggest you find somebody who understands the Bible, sit with them for a few weeks, and ask to have the salvation story explained. You will quickly understand why your perspective is a result of bad teaching. Remember, the Bible is not about accepting all of humanity. The Bible is a great story about man's Fall, God's extending grace and mercy to mankind, and His plan of salvation. The social issues that you bring up are a response to what God has already done for you, me, and others. Your question will be relevant, after you understand how God has already reached out to mankind. The answer would soon become obvious.
Mike P. February 13, 2013 at 07:37 PM
I was raised Catholic and received my confirmation at St. Bernards in Mt. Lebanon. Due to these strange inconsistencies I have since wandered away from the Catholics to a belief system that holds all mankind equal (which you agree is not Catholicism). So you will wait until God reaches out to mankind in some way to let everyone know that gay people deserve equality? Are you that closed off that you can not think on this for yourself and make your own conclusions? You will simply follow the orders no matter how unfair and unkind? Also, not sure why you are harassing me about quoting the Old Testament. Jesus is quite clear that he arrived to enforce the Old Testament Laws, not replace them.
Roger February 20, 2013 at 02:24 PM
Mike, Let's look at what the Bible says, "“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them." Matt 5:17. Fulfilling the Law and enforcing the Law are two entirely different things. Many other references are available,but this one is very clear and concise. With your training, you were made aware of components of the Law. You were also made aware of which components remained, and which were discontinued after the work of Jesus. Moral components remain, civil and ceremonial components are set aside (see Hebrews). I am certain this would have been part of your training. The Bible teaches equality, " So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." Gal 3:26-28. God has reached out to mankind. All come to the Father through faith, regardless of gender, ethnicity, living in Old Testament times, or New Testament times (e.g. "Abraham was reckoned to God through faith ..." the same argument Paul uses in Romans 3-5). Think for self, or not, has no bearing on the matter. What the Bible teaches about these matters is the ONLY thing that matters. Fairness and unkind in our terms is irrelevant. Obedience to God's commands is very relevant, "If you love me ... keep my commands."
Mike P. February 26, 2013 at 06:04 PM
So if I understand you correctly, the Old Testament is usurped by the New Testament? I am quite sure this is incorrect, but for the sake of argument I shall accept your statement. Why the fervent anti-gay stance? There is nothing in the NT about hating gay people, that is strictly an OT doctrine. As I stated before you can't simply choose to ignore certain parts of the book to suit certain bigoted beliefs. Either hate gays and kill people working on the Sabbath, or do neither. I literally laughed out loud at this part of your reply: "Think for self, or not, has no bearing on the matter. What the Bible teaches about these matters is the ONLY thing that matters. Fairness and unkind in our terms is irrelevant." It is those kind of nonsensical and fanatical ravings that show what a foolish and hateful organization the Catholic Church is. There is no point in any further debate with you since no amount of logic can compete with your intense refusal to think for yourself and break from your hateful beliefs. Good day.
Roger February 26, 2013 at 06:31 PM
Mike, thanks for your reply. No, I did not say the OT is usurped by the NT. Parts of the OT are fulfilled and rendered obsolete. For example: "The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. ... Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. ..." Heb 10:1, 9-10. The Law was given to lead man to Jesus Christ, "... Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. But Scripture has locked up everything under the control of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe. ..." Gal 3:21,22. In other words, the Law was given to lead us to Christ. Faith always was the path to God, and remains true today. The choice of a homosexual lifestyle is not unique to the OT. Romans 1:18-32, 1 Corinthians 5:9-12, 6:12-20, and 1 Tim 1:10. No part of the OT moral Law was abrogated with the incarnation of Jesus Christ. (cont)
Roger February 26, 2013 at 06:40 PM
(cont) You may chuckle at the comment regarding biblical teachings. If you are Christian, the Bible is your source of matters of life and faith. What I think, what you think, or what others think, is irrelevant. All that matters is what the Bible teaches. This is hardly fanatical. Either you follow the Bible's teachings, or you do not. Being a believer is not a menu choice. To follow a pick/choose is to discount the truths regarding all other matters, including eternal destiny. Why would anybody embrace God's promises regarding an eternity with Him, His promises of comfort, courage, power and faith, and then choose to discard other teachings. Do you wish to put yourself into your own path of eternal salvation? There is much room for logic and reasoning within the believer's worldview. Thinking that the faith is only blind is to ignore what is required of the maturing believer. However, the basic truths in many areas are beyond our understanding. " Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe." 1 Cor 1:20,21. (cont)
Roger February 26, 2013 at 06:45 PM
(cont) ""We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For since the message spoken through angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him." Heb 2:1-3. Salvation is offered to you. The Hebrews passage asks the important question: "... how shall we escape if we ignore ....?" Chuckling at truth, and ignoring truth, as laid out in the Bible regarding the important matter of salvation leaves you without any hope. The Bible is filled with those who chose to ignore the truth, and often chuckled. What was their eternal destiny? With the gospel truths so well written in the Bible, why would you choose to ignore? Believing yourself above God is a path to destruction.
Mike P. February 26, 2013 at 10:14 PM
You have officially lost all credibility when you wrote "The choice of a homosexual lifestyle". Such a statement is wildly Homophobic/racist. You have been flagged as inappropriate. Goodbye.
Roger February 27, 2013 at 06:56 PM
Again, thanks for your response. With all the weighty and important topics covered in my posts, you have picked out one item on which to focus. This is regrettable because it has nothing to do with your mortality and your place into eternity. I suppose I should not be surprised at the response. The truth of the Bible has been rejected by many, just as the Bible itself predicts. These kinds of responses help verify the validity of truth claims of the Bible. Dealing with one's place in eternity raises the hackles of many, and therefore gets set aside. The Hebrews passage above confirms the question that many choose to set aside, "how shall we escape ...?" I see you chose not to answer this question. Rather you chose to pick one small item that you may not agree with, and not address the truths mentioned above. This is sad for the well-being of your soul into eternity. You aren't specific in your criticism, but I suspect you are hung up on the word "choice." This is a moot argument anyway, hardly worthy of comment. The rise and fall of those engaged in homosexual lifestyle, those who cross-over from a heterosexual, then homosexual, then back again, visa versa, easily and quickly defuse any argument hinged around "not a choice." I see you chose to ignore what the Bible had to say about these matters. My credibility is not at stake, nor does it matter., rather the credibility of the Bible. What is your source of absolute truth?

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