The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

February 11, 2013

Area Catholics react to papal resignation

OTTUMWA — Catholics worldwide woke Monday to a shock: Pope Benedict XVI had announced his resignation.

The papal resignation is not unprecedented, but it hasn’t happened in centuries. Gregory XII was the most recent pope to resign. That was in 1415, when the question of who should lead the church was in dispute.

That’s not the case today. Fr. Bernie Weir, pastor of St. Mary of the Visitation in Ottumwa, said the pope’s resignation should not shake the faith of Catholics. Weir said the resignation came as a surprise but that change also allows for growth.

“It opens up lots of new opportunities for the church in the future,” he said.

Benedict, formerly Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, was elected by the College of Cardinals in 2005 following the death of Pope John Paul II. There had been speculation about his predecessor’s possible resignation due to ill health, but that did not come about.

Bishop Martin Amos of the Davenport Diocese wrote on the diocesan website about his meeting with the pope.

“I met the Holy Father last spring during my regular visit to the Vatican. I found him to be a warm and caring leader with a keen intellect who is concerned with what was happening in our diocese. Both Msgr. John Hyland, VG and I also thought he looked very tired from his very extensive and demanding schedule,” he wrote.

Bishop Richard Pates of the Diocese of Des Moines called Benedict's decision “courageous.” The pope surprised everyone, he said, but made his decision after serving as long as he physically could before breaking with tradition and stepping down.

Local reactions were generally supportive. Diana Till of Hedrick wrote on the Courier’s Facebook page that Benedict’s decision reflected “a wise man.

“Using common sense ... He is old and needs a break ... Good for him,” she wrote.

Stacy Matusick of Ottumwa called Pop Benedict, “a man of the church,” and urged against speculation about why he resigned.

Benedict himself cited age in his resignation. He said “both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.”

Some aspects of what comes next are known. Popes are selected by the College of Cardinals in a conclave at the Vatican. Benedict’s resignation takes effect Feb. 28, and the conclave must begin within 15-20 days of the papacy becoming vacant.

Cardinals under age 80 can vote in the conclave. A two-thirds majority is required to elect a pope.

There is no set time for a conclave. The longest lasted more than two years beginning in 1268. The shortest have lasted a matter of days. The Vatican has said it hopes to have a new pope elected by Easter, which falls on March 31 this year, though officials emphasize it is a target rather than a deadline.

But what of Benedict himself? It has been centuries since a pope had his predecessor watching as he took office.

“We’ll have to wait and see,” Pates said, “but I’m sure the pope [Benedict] will exercise discretion.”

Benedict’s resignation pointed to a future “dedicated to prayer.”

Text Only
Local News
  • Quincy Ave. project starts Aug. 4 OTTUMWA — Updates on the Quincy Avenue project was given to residents and businesses residing between Albia Road and Hwy. 34 on Thursday night at Ottumwa City Hall. About a dozen people attended the meeting where City Engineer Dan Sturm gave an updat

    July 25, 2014

  • Silence continues on fatal shooting OTTUMWA — Law enforcement is exercising its right to remain silent about a shooting death that occurred south of town this week. The Wapello County Sheriff's Office, which had responded to the shooting, said most information on the case would now com

    July 25, 2014

  • 0726 OTT cedar creek Gone in a flash

    BLOOMFIELD — Bob Parker got about as close to lightning as you can Friday morning, and came out of it without injury. A line of thunderstorms started moving through southeast Iowa in the early morning hours. Parker was heading to work at about 7 a.m.

    July 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0726 OTT Garden Bites III Color Photo -T Garden Bites sees growth BLOOMFIELD — Nearly one month ago, families gathered at Pioneer Ridge Nature Center to plant various vegetables to harvest and eat on Thursday at Garden Bites. The program allows families to get their hands a bit dirty at Pioneer Ridge and plant food

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0724 OTT Tehel mug -T -M Resolution — Techel verdict reached

    DAVENPORT — The father of a slain Wapello County woman said he began to heal as soon as he heard the guilty verdict today. The jury unanimously pronounced Seth Techel, 23, guilty on charges of first-degree murder and non-consensual termination of a h

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0725 OTT Riverfront design A new outlook on Ottumwa OTTUMWA — A "River Renaissance" is brewing in Wapello County. Planners working for Christian Rushing Studio from Tennessee took the public's ideas, and gave them life via maps, numerical projections and artists' renderings. "Hold onto your seats; you

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Police to parents: check kids' online activities BLOOMFIELD — The Bloomfield police chief says the arrests of nine men in connection with sexting a teenage girl underscores the need for parents to keep an eye on their children online. Chief Shawn Armstrong said cases involving one or two people are

    July 24, 2014

  • 0725 OTT birthday rumble -T -M Age 106, still ready to rumble OTTUMWA — With the stories flowing, Celma Birdsall had the ride of her life Thursday. "She shared a lot of memories," said her chauffeur for the day, Dennis Parrish. Birdsall has built up a lot of stories over the 106 years she's been around. After h

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0725 OTT College Connections color photo -T -M IHCC eases transition to college OTTUMWA — When choosing a college that's just right for you, it is important to find one that works its hardest to ensure your success as a student. Indian Hills Community College is doing just that this week with a College Connections Workshop spons

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0724 OTT Tehel mug -T -M Techel found guilty on both counts

    DAVENPORT — Jurors have found Seth Techel guilty in the 2012 murder of his wife, Lisa, and the couple’s unborn child.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

Photo reprints


Obituaries

Facebook