Pope Resignation Catches Local Catholics Off-Guard
The stunning announcement Monday that Pope Benedict XVI would leave his post at the end of the month caught many local Catholics off-guard.
Through a statement issued by the Altoona-Johnstown Roman Catholic Diocese, Bishop Mark Bartchak expressed surprise at the decision. Bartchak had met with the Pope on two occasions and says both times he found church’s top figure to be engaged, attentive and focused on his duties.
The Vatican cited declining health and physical abilities for Pope Benedict’s sudden resignation.
A special mass to celebrate the transition will be held on Thursday, February 28th at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Altoona.
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