Bishop Strickland reacts to Pope Benedict XVI retirement - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

Bishop Strickland reacts to Pope Benedict XVI retirement

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TYLER, TX (KLTV) -

Pope Benedict XVI has become the first pontiff in 600 years to resign.

The pope announced Monday that he will be stepping down at the end of the month, saying the duties require strength of mind and body, and he is "not strong enough anymore."

The pope's brother says doctors recently advised him not to take any more trans-Atlantic trips.

His decision to resign may have come as a surprise to many.

But in fact, Pope Benedict laid the groundwork for Monday's decision years ago when he said popes have the obligation to resign if they can't carry on.

Bishop Strickland says he was blessed to meet Pope Benedict XVI just last March and that he was struck with how vigorous and sharp and engaged he was - but that first and foremost, he is impressed with the pope's decision.

"It's a huge job, huge prestige, huge work also. But to be willing to step aside from that, to me, speaks to his commitment to the church, and for whatever reasons he's prayerfully discerned that he's just not up to running the world-wide organization of more than 1 billion members that the Roman Catholic church is," said Bishop Strickland.

The last pope to resign was Gregory XII in 1415, 10 years into his tenure.

He did so during a leadership crisis in the church known as the Great Western Schism.

Bishop Strickland encourages all Catholics to say a prayer of thanksgiving for Pope Benedict XVI at their next mass.

A successor will be chosen next month.

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