Resignation of Pope 'a total shock'
POPE Benedict XVI's resignation will have a big impact on the Catholic church.
That is according to Canon Liam Slattery, of St Peter's Church in London Road, Gloucester, who was responding to the shock news which broke yesterday.
Monday's events signalled the first resignation of a pope in 600 years. Normally a new pope is elected after the previous one has died and been buried.
Canon Slattery said: "It came as a total shock, I was driving when I heard the news. I imagine it will have an impact on the church, as this is a totally unique piece of history we are witnessing.
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"I believe the last pope to have resigned did so because they were forced to. I never expected this, but having had time to reflect, I think it is a very courageous thing to do as he has recognised he is not as stable as he was."
Pope Benedict XVI, 85, has been head of the Catholic Church for nearly eight years.