The Bensalem community has spoken out in support of Pope Benedict's decision to resign at the end of February.
Benedict said in a statement that he has come to the certainty that his strengths, "due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry."
He went on to say that "both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me."
Though this is the first resignation of a pope in roughly 600 years, James MacNew, the Director of Campus Ministry at Bensalem's Holy Family University said it is a hopeful time.
"At this new beginning, we find ourselves at a hopeful time as we join ourselves with the universal church, for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as the cardinals will soon assemble to select the next successor of Saint Peter. It’s important at this new beginning to hold in prayer Pope Benedict as he enters the season of personal transition,"MacNew said.
Several Patch readers expressed their thoughts on Bensalem Patch's Facebook page.
One reader, Judy Oddo said that she is sad for him and believes his resignation is because of a health problem. Another reader, Mary Beth Kenny-Palestini said she respects his decision.
"I'm praying for him and I respect his decision," Kenny-Palestini said. "However, I wish it would have been announced after Easter."
Benedict's decision to resign was announced on Sunday, Feb. 10, just a few days before the Lenten season, which begins with Ash Wednesday on Feb. 13.
Lent is "a season of self-examination, fasting and penance in preparation for [the] Easter Day observance," Catholic.org explains.
After Benedict's last day, which is Feb. 28, The College of Cardinals will elect a new pope in conclave, a process where the cardinals are locked up in the Vatican's Sistine Chapel until they select a new pope.
Voting takes place two times in the morning and in the afternoon until a two-thirds majority votes in favor of one person. The ballots are burned after each round and smoke signals alert the outside world of the vote's outcome. Black smoke means no decision was made, and white smoke means a pope has been elected.
If a new pope is elected by Easter Sunday, March 31, he will give the Papal Blessing in Saint Peter's Square in front of the Basilica.