Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas Tobin says he was stunned by the announcement that Pope Benedict the XVI will step down at the end of the month. Bishop Tobin met the pope a couple of times and was struck by his intellect and humility.
“He is a very gentle man, you get that sense in meeting him in person,” says Tobin. “He’s a very humble, gentle man who took this tremendous burden on his shoulders, somewhat reluctantly I believe.”
When Benedict steps down at the end of the month, Tobin says God is the only one who knows who the next pope will be. With the Lenten season about to begin, Tobin calls the timing a great surprise.
“Well I woke up this morning when I first heard the news shortly after 6:00am, and I realized instantly it was a historic day,” says Tobin. “None of us obviously have lived to see something like this, so it’s a historic day for all the members of the church.”
The Catholic Church hopes to have a new pope by Easter. The diocese is holding a Mass of Thanksgiving at noon on Benedict’s final day as pope, February 28th.
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