Misericordia students surprised by Pontiff’s announcement

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DALLAS – Students and professors at Misericorida University said they were surprised by the announcement that Pope Benedict XVI would retire at the end of the month but said they support his decision.

Junior Kelsey Whiteman said she remembers watching the last papal conclave on television on 2005 and said she plans on paying more attention to this election.

“I think it will be cool. I remember the last time when they had the last election. I remember seeing it on TV. It will be nice to see another one,” said Whiteman.

Dennis Halpin told Newswatch 16 that he was surprised to learn that Benedict made the decision to step down because of health concerns.

“I think it’s good for him because I think in years past, Popes wouldn’t have resigned under even those circumstances. I think it sort of speaks to the more realistic attitude of the time,” said Halpin.

Campus Ministry Director Christine Somers said she was not surprised to hear that the pontiff would leave his post this year, but she was surprised the timing and anticipated shift in power.

“Lent starts on Wednesday. Easter is coming up. I think it will be important to see who the next Pope is and again the direction that we are going into,” said Somers.

Religious Studies Department Professor Joseph Curran told Newswatch 16 that he and other professors are shuffling their classes to discuss the changes in the Vatican as they unfold in the coming weeks.

“I think the big legacy that he leaves the church might be this moment and it would be instructional for future Popes to think about laying the office aside, putting the good of the church first if they can no longer execute the office in the way it needs to be done,” said Curran.