Local Catholics Surprised By Pope's Resignation

Feb 11, 2013

Catholics reacted to the surprising news that Pope Benedict announced his resignation Monday morning. We spoke to a few of them after the noon mass on Monday at St. Peter's Catholic Church.

Saint Peter's in uptown is the oldest Catholic church in Charlotte.
Credit Tasnim Shamma

Kevin Barto says his coworkers and friends have been asking him all morning about what this means for the Catholic Church. He says it's not easy to say what Pope Benedict's legacy will be because he was in the role for such a relatively short amount of time.  

"I was raised Catholic, Catholic elementary school, Catholic college, the whole nine yards up North," Barto says. "It was extremely shocking that a pope would resign, I didn't actually know that that was possible."

Tanya Kazanjian is the church's Eucharist minister. She says he was regarded by many congregations as being "too conservative."  She says his push for services to be in Latin, was one example.  

"I am a little bit sad, you know, but I'm glad that instead of trying very hard to stay and do something when you're too old and don't feel well that he will have a peaceful last remaining years and he'll hand the job over to someone younger who can do a little more with it," she says.  

Warren Whitlock says he is excited about the future of the church and the "youthful, inspiring, more creative" leadership opportunity this allows. 

"You know I have not felt very connected to [Pope Benedict]," Warren Whitlock says. "I think that he's done a fairly good job with advancing the Catholic agenda, but I think he had a difficult role to fill because he came after such a charismatic pope."

Ervin Arana says he mourned the death of Pope John Paul II, who he saw a couple of times when the pope visited his native country of Guatemala, but he never felt a strong connection to Pope Benedict. 

Saint Peter's Catholic Church.
Credit Tasnim Shamma

"It's kind of historic because it doesn't happen very often," Arana says. "Every other 500 years or so."  

He says, if anything, Pope Benedict's departure might actually help him grow stronger in his faith.