News of pope resignation shocks Tucson parishoners

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News of pope resignation shocks Tucson parishoners

CREATED Feb. 11, 2013

Reporter: Aaron Brackett

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - The world woke up to a surprising announcement from the Vatican Monday. Pope Benedict the 16th is calling it quits and stepping down -- something that hasn't happened in 600 years.

Pope Benedict told cardinals today that leading the Roman Catholic Church requires strength of mind and body, and that at 85, his own strength is deteriorating.

The announcement that he will resign at the end of this month spread quickly and shocked not only faithful parishioners, but also Tucson's Bishop Gerald Kicanas, who saw the pope in person very recently.

"Recently I saw him in Cuba when he was there to visit and it was a wonderful event, but he looked so weary, but then in October, I was there for the synod, and he was present for almost all of the gatherings, and there he looked much more vibrant," said Kicanas.

At the age of 85, the head of the Catholic church has already served past most of the last 10 popes, which averaged a maximum age of 79.7.  Popes don't start early either, with an average starting age of 66.3 -- older than what is considered a retiring age for most Americans.  Looking forward, it took an average of only 17 days to install a new pope, so believers will not have to wait long.

After St. Augustine's noon mass Monday, parishioners Delfina Jimenez and her husband, Fred, shared their thoughts about the announcement.

"It's a very sad time in the Catholic church," said Delfina Jimenez. "I don't know why, I don't see it as him resigning, I think he is being put out."

9OYS also talked to Njinyaa Iglacius was also saddened by the resignation.

"When you resign and a predecessor comes in, he starts all over again, it becomes difficult," said Iglacius.

When Pope Benedict the 16th steps down on the 28th of February, he will have held the papacy for nearly 8 years.