Two Trumbull Catholic priests praised Pope Benedict XVI, who said he would be resigning Feb. 28 for health reasons after less than eight years in office.
According to his statement, reported in the Chicago Tribune, the pope, 85, said "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 recognise my incapacity to adequately fulfil the ministry entrusted to me.
"For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter."
He also referred to "today's world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith."
The Rev. Lawrence Carew, pastor of Christ the King Parish, said, "Like everyone else, I'm surprised.
"I admire him for recognizing that his health was going down" and putting the church ahead of himself, Carew said.
The Rev. Frank Hanincik, pastor of St. John the Baptist Byzantine Catholic Church for four years, said he was saddened at the announcement. "He's a pope I think very highly of. He's a great theologian," Hanincik said.
There is a provision allowing the pope to resign, he added. "He's followed those provisions in Canon Law," the pastor said.