Mid-South Catholics Sad, Optimistic Over Pope’s Resignation

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(Memphis) Vicar General Peter Buchignani says emotions are mixed as Pope Benedict XVI resigns his position as the head of the Catholic Church, "This is so unusual, something none of us could have dreamed of a month or so ago so it’s sad.”

A papal resignation hasn't taken place in the Catholic Church in almost 600 years, but that move has earned the respect among many.

“I think a lot of people, myself included, really admire that this man could look at the total picture and say, ‘the good of the church demands I step down’. That's quite a decision,” said Buchignani.

He says Catholics in the Mid-South are sad by the resignation, but are largely un-phased in their faith. He claims the sadness of parishioners will soon turn to joy.

“Within a couple of days, all of a sudden, the focus is going to shift to excitement, anticipation, wonderment as to who the new Pope is going to be,” said Buchignani.