Local priest says younger pope needed
Father Jim Turner has no qualms over the pope’s resignation and high hopes and expectations for whoever is next.
The resignation of Pope Benedict XVI is the first in nearly 600 years. Turner, a priest at Our Lady of the Highways Catholic Church in Thomasville, understands Benedict’s decision.
“I think it’s very humble for a man to admit he’s too frail to do all the things he needs to do,” Turner said. “He’s 85 and the past couple of months his health has been deteriorating. His mind is sharp but his physical health is dwindling.”
The 118 cardinals who will chose the next pope are also in the running. Turner said that there are only six from the United States and nearly 70 in Italy alone.
Most of the cardinals are from European countries but a surge of African nations have joined the church recently and some believe the next pope could come from there.
“I would like to see a younger pope to be able to do all the things a pope needs to do,” Turner said. “The new pope should be pastoral and open to marriage and married clergy and that kind of stuff.”
Benedict will end his duties on Feb. 28. There will be no formal ceremony but he is scheduled to make his last appearance on Feb. 27. The cardinals will meet for a conclave in March, according to the Associated Press. A new pope could be named by Easter, March 31.
The Catholic Church has an estimated one billion members worldwide. Cardinals under 80 years old are allowed to vote in the conclave, the meeting held in the Sistine Chapel where cardinals cast ballots to elect a new pope. As per tradition, the ballots are burned after each voting round; black smoke that snakes out of the chimney means no pope has been chosen, while white smoke means a pope has been named.