Melrose Reacts to Pope Benedict News
Melrose church officials react to Pope Benedict XVI's decision to step down on Feb. 28.
Pope Benedict XVI announced Monday that he will resign at the end of February, according to a Reuters report.
The 85-year-old pope is unable to fulfill the duties of his office, Reuters said, because he is does not have the strength.
Benedict is the first pontiff to resign since the Middle Ages, according to Reuters.
Melrose Reacts to Pope Benedict's Impending Resignation
Pastor Beth Horne, who has served the Melrose Highlands Congregational Church for about four years, said she was surprised by Pope Benedict XVI's decision to resign on Feb. 28.
"Pope Benedict's resignation certainly is surprising given the tradition of the papacy," wrote Horne in an email to Melrose Patch Monday afternoon. "My prayer for all my Roman Catholic brothers and sisters is for steadiness and hope in the days ahead.
"Times of transition in the Church are spaces when the Holy Spirit seems especially present to guide, challenge and comfort. May this be such a time of richness for those that are faced with selecting a new pope and for the Church as a whole."
A Differing Perspective
While he may be affiliated with a different religious denomination than the Pope Benedict XVI, Rev. Bruce Lomas of the Trinity Episcopal Church said a papal resignation can have a direct impact on the church's relationship with other denominations.
"The one thing that I will take away from Benedict's time as the Bishop of Rome, is his helping to create the Anglican Ordinariate, giving Episcopal and Anglican priests and those who disagree with the current state of this branch of Christianity in regards to the ordination of women and the full inclusion of gays and lesbians in the ordination process," said Lomas in an email to Melrose Patch Monday.
"Many of them disagreed with the election and consecrating of Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, the Episcopal Church's first openly gay and partnered Bishop. Personally, I do not count myself as part of that group having been a lifelong Episcopalian and fully supportive of our church as it seeks to be an open and inclusive community seeking to show Christ's love for all humanity.
"...I have never met Benedict, and although I do not agree either theologically or socially with Rome, I will keep that branch of Christ's Church in my prayers as they seek new leadership for the future."