Nedburn Thaffe, Gleaner Writer
The local Catholic community was saddened yesterday over news that Pope Benedict XVI will be abdicating his position as head of the Catholic Church on February 28.
The reigning Pope stunned members of the Catholic faith worldwide yesterday when he announced that he no longer has the mental and physical strength to continue in the position.
"I got an email this morning with somebody saying, "It's so sad that the Pope is retiring". I can see most people agreeing that that's a good thing but a few will say that's sad, but, then again, the reality kicks in too," said Archbishop Emeritus of Kingston, Reverend Donald Reece.
Reece, who told The Gleaner yesterday that the news has not come as a surprise to him, said the handwriting had been on the wall for some time, pointing especially to the Pope's deteriorating health.
"I am not totally surprised. I have been to meetings with the Holy Father over the years and I have seen a constant deterioration of his health. He has not been able to entertain us as he would do before," he said.
"The role of (Saint) Peter is to strengthen local churches to the best of his ability. This is exactly what the Holy Father has in mind, (that) he is not able, with his ageing condition and his health, to perform the role of a Peter which is to strengthen the brethren."