Mass. Catholic leaders praise Pope Benedict XVI
BOSTON -- Massachusetts Catholics are expressing support for Pope Benedict XVI, who made the surprise decision to become the first pope in almost 600 years to resign.
Most people 7News spoke with respect his decision.
“I think he probably made the best decision he could for himself,” one woman said.
“Well, if he feels feeble physically or mentally then yeah he's doing the right thing,” said another woman.
Boston's Cardinal Sean O'Malley hailed Benedict's "courage," and recalled the pope's meeting in Washington, D.C., in 2008 with Boston-area victims of the clergy sex abuse crisis.
Bishop Robert Deeley, the vicar general of the Boston Archdiocese, on Monday gave thanks for Benedict's "faithful leadership" in his eight years as pope.
Deeley, who worked directly with the pope in Rome, said Benedict has a "deep and abiding love for the Church."
Ray Flynn, the former Boston mayor and U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, called Benedict a "pious and caring priest." Flynn called the resignation an "act of sacrifice" to make way for a more energized leader.
“Pope Benedict XVI has been consistently talking about his health. And he says, ‘As long as I have the strength and the energy to carry out the functions of the Catholic Church, I will be there,’ but then at the same time, there’s been reports of declining health,” Flynn said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.