Western Springs pastor reacts to pope’s resignation
Updated: February 18, 2013 6:08PM
WESTERN SPRINGS — The resignation of Pope Benedict XVI came as a surprise to nearly everyone, including Father David Dowdle, pastor at St. John of the Cross in Western Springs.
Dowdle said Benedict’s decision to step down, effective Feb. 28, could have lasting effects on the church. While previous popes held on to their positions long after they were physically or mentally able to fulfill their duties, Benedict’s action could set a precedent for future pontiffs.
“This might become more common,” Dowdle said.
Dowdle praised Benedict for his decision to resign due to his physical limitations.
“It was most gracious of Benedict to do this,” Dowdle said.
The church’s cardinals, including Cardinal Francis George, will gather in early March to decide who will become the next leader of the Roman Catholic Church. It is Dowdle’s hope the cardinals choose a leader that will help the church continue to grow.
“My hope is that they go to the global south,” said Dowdle.
The church is growing rapidly in countries like South America, Africa and India. A leader from this region would be revolutionary, Dowdle said, and would foster further growth.
With Lent set to begin on Wednesday, Dowdle speculated that Benedict’s resignation might have been timed to allow a new pope to be in place by Holy Week, which takes place the last week of March and ends with the celebration of Easter on March 31.