WNYT.com

Local parishioners react to pope's resignation

Posted at: 02/11/2013 5:49 PM
Updated at: 02/12/2013 12:16 AM
By: Kumi Tucker

ALBANY - Rosemarie and Walt Gartner went to the 12:15 mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Albany on the same day that Pope Benedict XVI announced that he has decided to resign.

"I feel very sad that the pope has to resign or wants to resign, but I do understand that at his age, this is an awful lot, a big responsibility," said Rosemarie Gartner.

The Rev. Joseph Dworak spoke about the importance of the pope.

"He's a central focus for the faith and he brings the faith forward for us and tries to gather us together in unity, in unity and in peace.  And inspires us and challenges us.  We all need that," he said.

There was a lot to talk about today in the American Religious History class at the College of Saint Rose.  This happened to be the first day on American Catholicism. Professor Jeffrey Marlett says the resignation is significant on a diplomatic level as well as a spiritual one that affects more than 1 billion people around the world.

"When popes either abdicate or die, it's not just a religious decision, but it's a head of state issue as well," said Marlett.  "And so it is something that affects not just questions of spirituality or how someone individually believes, but how an entire community of faith is perceived and how it acts around the world."

Walt Gartner told NewsChannel 13 what he hopes to see for Benedict's successor.

"To do the will of God," he said.  "It's that simple.  And what that is, that's not my discernment, that's his."