Local churches shocked by Pope's decision to resign

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU)-- February 28th is the official date the Pope will resign.The Pope's decisions affect many people across the world, especially those of catholic faith.

And local parishes are still in shock from the news.
Their reaction can be summarized in two words: shock and surprise. The Pope's decision was not anticipated by church leaders, but many say Pope Benedict's choice was the right one.

“It takes a lot of strength of mind and body, to do what he does,” said Reverend Brian Konopa with the St. Olaf Catholic Church.

Physical strength that the Pope knows is fading, and stepping down, local church leaders say, is a wise decision.

“It really is a concern that he is showing for the church, saying maybe it’s best if someone else leads at this time,” said Reverend Konopa.

“I think it is a good move, he knows, his mind is fine; and he knows that physically he is just not up for the job. I give him credit for making that move,” said Father John Schultz, with the St. James Catholic Church.

“Where normally a Pope ends his term because of death, and the shock is the shock of mourning; in this case we can be happy for him,” said Reverend Konopa.

And Reverend Konopa says it reminds people, that in every part of the world the Catholic Church stand together.

“Locally one of the gifts will be an opportunity to be reminded that we are a universal world-wide church,” said Reverend Konopa.

“Yes, it is a big deal, because the person that will be next Pope is a very significant person for us. I look forward with excitement, to whoever this next person will be,” said Father Schultz.

Reverend Konopa says the lasting legacy of Pope Benedict XVI will be unpacked overtime. And when it comes to local parishes it will take months or even years to fully feel the effect of Pope's resignation.

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