Archbishop Gregory reacts to pope resignation - CBS46 News

Archbishop Gregory reacts to pope resignation

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SMYRNA, GA (CBS46) -

A major announcement from the Vatican left Catholics around the world in shock on Monday.

Pope Benedict XVI announced he would be resigning at the end of the month, making him the first Pontiff to resign in nearly 600 years.

Catholic Bill Clark was one of many who were totally caught off guard.

"I heard it on the radio and I thought, 'what did he say?'" said Clark.

Even Archbishop Wilton Gregory was surprised by the news, but he did say it makes sense.

"In May, he was noticeably tired," said Gregory.

The Archbishop said it's way too early to start naming possible candidates, but he did talk about the characteristics the next pope should have.

"To use a cliche, we live in a global village and so he has to be able to address those needs that impact all of us," said Gregory.

Something that he said has gotten more difficult than ever.

"Now he has to be concerned about the entire planet, and the entire planet is knocking on the front door every morning," said Gregory.

But some parishioners see it as great opportunity.

"The church is going through a number of challenges and the ability to have a fresh point of view on these issues is very good for our church," said Clark.

And some are hoping it opens the door to a whole new part of the world.

"It's quite possible that we might have a cardinal from either the Americas, or Africa, or Asia so it's a very exciting time for us," said Clark.

But Archbishop Gregory said where a person lives will not be a determining factor.

I'm not so concerned about ethnicity or ideological position. Holiness, wisdom, pastoral insight, availability, that's what I would hope for," said Gregory.

As for Pope Benedict, Archbishop Gregory said he will likely be known for his wisdom and his writings, but he'll remember the pope for something else.

"From my perspective, it was always one of the easiest meetings because he was prepared, he knew what you were there for, and he engaged you and respected you. He listened to you, and allowed you to open your heart to him," said Gregory.

But in the end Pope Benedict's legacy might not be defined by what he did while serving as pope, but how he left it.

"He'll be remembered as the first pope in 600 years to tender his resignation," said Gregory.

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