The world is left stunned by the surprise announcement from the Vatican. Pope Benedict the XVI is resigning because of failing strength and health. The focus is now shifting to who will be his successor and what part of the world will the new pontiff be from?
The last time a pope stepped down was 600 years ago. His resignation opens the door to an array of possible successors from the conservative Italian cardinal of Milan to a contender from Ghana, and several Latin Americans.
So is North America a likely contender? UCSB professor Stefania Tutino, who specializes in the Catholic Church says the recent sex abuse scandal involving hundreds of victims has tainted perceptions of North American Catholic Churches. She believes it’s unlikely.
At age 85 Pope Benedict grew increasingly frail, admitting he was no longer strong enough to fulfill his duties.
His followers say his stepping down shows a great deal of humility.
What’s also sparking controversy is retired Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony, who was just relieved of all his public duties, because of the recent sex abuse scandal will be among the cardinals traveling to Rome next month to help elect a new pope. Mahony did release a statement saying he looks forward to participating in the conclave. Pope Benedict will step down at the end of
NewsChannel 3 Reporter Shirin Rajaee reports.