The announcement came in Rome from the ailing pontiff, who has been in deteriorating health, and indicated he is too sick to carry on his duties.
It will be the first time in 600 years that a sitting Pope has abdicated the Throne of St. Peter. “Declining health or not, once a Pope you're a Pope until you die,” Dawn Merting said on Bellmore Patch’s Facebook page. “That's the idea to meet God..your maker. There's going to be something huge after his step-down.”
Deanna Ewer disagreed, saying “If it is for declining health, I applaud his decision.”
Kim Berly said on Merrick Patch’s Facebook page that she’s happy to see Pope Benedict step down.
“Bye bye!” she said. “Wise move! The man with all the secrets may he now have the time to reflect on his sins!”
John Paul II reigned from 1978 until his death in 2005 and is on the path to Sainthood. Benedict has reigned since April, 2005.
Benedict's resignation sets the stage for the conclave, a secret meeting in Rome of all church Cardinals under 80 years old to decide his successor.
The word "conclave" means, literally, "with a key." Symbolically, the College of Cardinals can not leave the conclave without deciding on a new leader of the world's 1 billion Roman Catholics.
Officials from St. Barnabas Church, Curse of Ars Church and Sacred Heart Church were unavailable for comment.
Michael Ganci contributed to this report.
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