Bishop Michael Pfeifer, "He wasn't thinking about himself but the church and how it could better serve and of course he is a human being he realized that age is catching up on him and his health and so for the good of the church he decided he would step aside. "Within the past year and a half Bishop Pfiefer was given the opportunity to sit down and visit with pope Benedict on two different occasions, and even though bishop Pfiefer and the congregation knew he was aging quickly, the news still comes as a surprise. "It's shocking for many people and I have received many messages of shock."
There was suspicion, Monsignor Voity has also had the opportunity to meet the pope and says during his visits there were many signs leading to the announcement of his stepping down.
Reverend Monsignor Voity says, "I was surprised I mean this one fell out of the sky but I have to qualify that by saying I was with him in January and I have seen his strength and health deteriorating and other things that were going on over at the Vatican were pointing to something happening he realized his own limitations and decided to act on those for the good of the church. So it was also a very humbling decision I mean how many people would give up an office like that for the good of the church so it was very faith filled decision, brave and humble"
Pope Benedict the 16th will be holding the position until February 28th - which is when the conclave of Cardinals will gather and begin to elect a new pope.