The Rev. John Rosson, pastor of St. Mary’s Church in Cooperstown, said in a statement that Benedict’s resignation shows that the office of Pope is more important than the person holding it.
“...We Catholics are not without a leader,” he said. “The leader is always Jesus Christ. His visible representative on Earth needs a replacement, not the head in Heaven.”
Anthony J. Casale of Cooperstown, a GOP political consultant, said when he and his wife, Theresa, attended a papal Mass in Rome in 2011, it was evident that Benedict appeared to lack physical stamina.
“We thought he looked very frail,” he recalled.
As for the announcement, Casale said, “The real story is that here is a beautiful person who put the church and the papacy ahead of himself and decided voluntarily to step aside. I’m sure it was a weighty and monumental decision on his part.”
Assemblyman Pete Lopez, R-Schoharie, also lauded Pope Benedict for recognizing it was time to step down.
“He is the head of the Church, but he is also a human,” he said. “Everyone has limits in terms of the demands on their body and the demands emotionally. His job has to be one of the most demanding positions on this planet. God bless him, and we thank him for his service.”
Otsego County Democratic Chairman Richard Abbate said Benedict’s decision could set the stage for church leaders to frame a mandatory retirement age for future pontiffs and to find ways to make the Catholic Church “more inclusive,” especially since Mass attendance has fallen off in many places.
He suggested that there be a study of the celibacy mandate imposed on priests, in order to determine how it contributes to the pressures faced by priests in modern society.
“To have the Pope recognize his own limitations is a good thing,” Abbate said. “I hope we can get a younger Pope who will be around for a while and take the church to new levels. I’m looking forward to seeing what transpires in Rome.”