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Dodge City Daily Globe - Dodge City, KS
  • Bishop, priest share thoughts on Pope's resignation

  • After nearly eight years as the visible head of the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI shocked the world with the announcement of his resignation Feb. 11. And although 85-year-old Benedict is the first pope to resign in nearly 600 years, local Catholic leaders foresee a positive future for the church and the papal transition.
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  • After nearly eight years as the visible head of the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI shocked the world with the announcement of his resignation Feb. 11. And although 85-year-old Benedict is the first pope to resign in nearly 600 years, local Catholic leaders foresee a positive future for the church and the papal transition.
    “I feel a profound sense of gratitude for Pope Benedict XVI who has selflessly served the People of God for over 61 years as a priest, and nearly eight years as our pope," Most Rev. John B. Brungardt, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Dodge City said in an e-mail.
    The Catholic Diocese of Dodge City includes 28 counties, covers 23,000 square miles and, according to the diocese website, serves more than 44,000 Catholics.
    "My prayers are with him during this profound transition in his life, as he continues to serve our Loving Lord in a ministry of prayer,” Brungardt said.
    Reports from the Vatican have shown Benedict's resignation was triggered by lessening physical and mental abilities.
    "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," said Benedict, according to the Vatican.
    Rev. Ted Skalsky, priest at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Dodge City, said Benedict's resignation was certainly an unusual event, but it did not make him overly anxious.
    "I'm confident the Lord will provide a good leader," Skalsky said.
    And while the weight of Benedict's announcement hasn't yet lifted, the focus of local and world leaders in the Catholic church is on finding a replacement.
    Skalsky said he doesn't imagine the goals or direction of the Church's leadership will change much with the election of Benedict's successor. He noted that while the home country of the next pope may have an effect, the change is not likely to be drastic. Skalsky mentioned the Americas and Africa as possible homelands for the next pope.
    When asked about his thoughts on future of the Catholic Church, Skalsky said he hopes to keep a focus on the "New Evangelization," a concept described by the United Conference of Catholic Bishops as the re-proposing of the Gospel "to those regions awaiting the first evangelization and to those regions where the roots of Christianity are deep but who have experienced a serious crisis of faith due to secularization."
    But for now, Skalsky said he will be praying for the College of Cardinals that will gather in what is called a “conclave” to deliberate and elect a new pope sometime before Easter.
    Bishop Brungardt echoed Skalsky's sentiments.
    “I pray for the Cardinals, as they begin their sacred role to elect the next Pope, he said. "I trust they are guided by the Holy Spirit, who has guided and protected our Catholic Church for 2,000 years.”
    Brungardt has also asked the superintendent of the Diocese of Dodge City Catholic Schools to work with the principals and students on Spiritual Bouquets or other prayers for Pope Benedict.
    “We are receiving and will distribute prayer and liturgical materials from various church sources to assist the parishes, schools, and the Catholic faithful during this time of change,” he added.
    Follow Abigail on Twitter @Abigail_dcglobe.

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