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Whitefriar Street Church priest’s take on pope resignation

Whitefriar Street Church (Credit: Jo Gallagher)

The Whitefriar Street Chruch is known for its statue of St. Valentine

Liberties priest Fr Bernard Murphy has said the Catholic community “will be taken aback” by Pope Benedict XVI’s announcement to step down.

The Whitefriar Street priest said: “It has been 600 years since the last pope has resigned from his position, but the Liberties Catholic community will understand that when a man is not well enough, he can’t go on.”

Fr Murphy said that there is a strong Catholic community in inner city Dublin and the Liberties area, and added that local Catholics that should not be affected by the surprising news.

“The Church will move on,” he said, “and at 85 they will acknowledge [the Pope’s] courage”.

On Monday morning, Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation at a meeting of cardinals in theVatican, stating that his “strengths due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequateexercise of Petrine Ministry”.

The Pope said that a successor who is strong “in mind and body” is needed to carry out the position.

The shocking news caused mixed reactions in the Church, as it is the first time a pope has stepped down since Gregory XII in 1415.

Pope Benedict will officially resign on February 28, and a new pope is expected to be elected by the end of March.

There has been much speculation about who will be the next head of the Catholic Church, with a growing pressure towards less-conservative views and possibly a non-European pope.

Around 42 per cent of the worldwide Catholic community live in Latin America, Africa and Asia, and some hope that the next pope will come from a developing country.

“There’s a voice coming from Africa and South America that wasn’t there before, but we will rely on the good sense and the holy gifts that will be given to them to see what our Church needs,” Fr Murphy said.

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