Local parishioners surprised at Pope's announcement

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Local residents were surprised to hear Pope Benedict XVI is stepping down. ABC57 spoke with Catholics and non-Catholics about the news. Most people said they were shocked and didn’t know a pope could resign.

For the local Catholic community Pope Benedict's retirement means new leadership and inevitable changes to the church.

But parishioners aren't shying away from change. In fact, many of them are embracing the pope's decision and are optimistic about the future.

"I applaud him for his ability to say, I have given you what I can and I am unable to continue to give what you need and so I'm going to step down and let somebody else with their gifts come forward and take the church forward,” said Catholic Dave Laux.

Right now is a busy time for the Catholic Church. Lent is just a few days away.

Parishioners say they have faith in the Cardinals to elect the best leader of the church.

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