The resignation of Pope Benedict XVI has stunned most Catholics in Central New York. The pope, who was elected in 2005, is the first leader of the Catholic Church in nearly 600 years to step down.
The news of the pope stepping down has Catholics and non- Catholics shocked.Now, people are asking who will replace him and what the pope will be called after the current leader leaves office.
The last pope to resign was Gregory VII in 1415 to end a civil war within the church in which more than one man claimed to be pope. But, it's a different case for Pope Benedict XVI.
The 85-year-old spiritual leader says his strength has deteriorated.
"After repeatedly examining my conscience before god, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry," said the pope.
Catholics and non-believers around the world are reacting to the pope's resignation.
"I'm sure they are going to be careful of who they choose. They'll probably do an amazing job too," said Utica resident, Nancy Burdick.
Joseph Poupart said, "To a certain degree I would like to see a change in the church. They need to modernize a little bit. "
Rev. Joseph Salerno, the pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Utica says he hopes the next pope can deepen the faith within the community.
"I would just hope that this historical day in many ways would lead Catholics through the world to have a great sense of thanksgiving of what has been and a great sense of hope of what the future may hold," said Rev. Salerno.
The pope will officially resign February 28th. The Vatican expects a new pope will be named by Easter.