Mid-South reaction to Pope's Feb 28 retirement - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Mid-South reaction to Pope's Feb 28 retirement

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Pope Benedict XVI (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia, File) Pope Benedict XVI (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia, File)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A Roman Catholic bishop in Arkansas says Pope Benedict XVI's surprise decision to resign shows humility and love for the church.

Little Rock Bishop Anthony B. Taylor said in a statement Monday that the 85-year-old pope maintained a schedule that would be daunting for a man half his age.

Declaring that he lacks the strength to do his job, Benedict said Monday that he would resign Feb. 28. His decision makes him the first pontiff to step down in nearly 600 years. It also sets the stage for a mid-March conclave to elect a new leader for a Roman Catholic Church in deep turmoil.

- Bishop Roger Morin of the Catholic Diocese of Biloxi says the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI "caught me off guard," according to a statement released Monday by diocese director of communications Terrance Dickson.

Morin says in the past eight years, Pope Benedict XVI has shown himself to be an outstanding international leader, a man of peace and justice. He says he's is saddened by the Pope's decision.

Bishop Joseph N. Latino of the Diocese of Jackson said in a statement that Pope Benedict XVI has made a decision that he feels is in the best interest of the Catholic church.

Latino says Pope Benedict has worked for greater understanding among faith traditions, and spoke out on behalf of truth and justice tempered with mercy.

MORE: Vatican: Pope too weary at his age for the job
MORE: AP PHOTOS: A look back at Pope Benedict XVI

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