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Local Catholics Shocked by Pope's Resignation

Deandra Corinthios

Local Catholics Shocked by Pope's Resignation

CREATED Feb. 11, 2013

GREEN BAY, WI--  Northeast Wisconsin's Catholic community is taking in the news of Pope Benedict's resignation. Green Bay Bishop David Ricken says he was just as surprised about it as any of us about the news.

The bishop says it's been an emotional day for him and the 300,000 other practicing Catholics in northeast Wisconsin.

"It's a time of mourning but also a time of anticipation" said Bishop Ricken.

A bittersweet day for Wisconsin's Catholic community as Pope Benedict steps down and the Vatican prepares to select his successor.

"I'm sure they will be looking for someone strong and vigorous. Someone who can carry the mantle of the church"

Green Bay's bishop David Ricken personally met Pope Benedict about five times.

"He's probably one of the kindest human beings I met in my life" said Bishop Ricken.

Bishop Ricken says he was taken aback when heard the news this morning on TV.

"I was pretty shocked..I thought did I hear that news right" said Bishop Ricken.

Students at St. Norbert College in De Pere, a Catholic institution, also surprised.

But most support the pope's decision.

"Comes with a lot of responsibility and i feel like he's doing the right thing" said St Norbert sophomore, Justin Delwiche,

"I don't feel like its a problem that he stepped down if he doesn't feel like he's healthy enough to continue" said St Norbert freshman, Caroline Cooper.

St. Norbert college leaders say the pope's teaching legacy will not be forgotten.

"He understood what it meant to do research and to study and to think these things through and we respected that" said Father Jay Fostner, with St. Norbert.

This is the first time since the 1400's that a pope has resigned. The cardinals will meet to decide on a sucessor after Pope Benedict's last day which is February 28th. The pope plans to retire in a monastery.