While leading scholars, experts and pundits from the around the globe discuss and analyze Pope Benedict XVI’s historic decision to resign, discussions are also buzzing among Catholics in the pews as Toledoans reflect on the pontiff’s nearly eight years in office and look ahead to what they can expect -- and hope for -- with next month's election of a next pope
Here are some comments from local Catholics on Benedict’s papacy and his successor:
Ernest Toth, 64, of Oregon:
If they don’t choose somebody young and aggressive to change the way the church is from the days when Jesus walked in the Holy Land to today, then it just ain’t gonna be worth it.
They’ve got to start conforming to the young, the new way of doing things. That’s it.
I’m not saying Pope Benedict was too old, but the church needs some younger minds, younger thoughts.
Doug Jones, 42 of Toledo:
I think it’s sad to see [Benedict] go -- of course he’s not gone yet. But I thought he was doing a good job. Past popes, in past centuries, didn’t have to deal with a lot of things that popes have to deal with today.
In terms of a successor … I think we need to hold the status quo. I think that we just need to hold to church teachings, otherwise the church becomes irrelevant. If try to modernize, to be younger, it will have an adverse effect. It has to be what it is. If we look into it, we’ll realize that churches that have done that typically tend to fall apart.
James Calhoun, 79, Toledo
What else is [Benedict] going to do? Everybody ain’t the same. Eveybody’s built different. Some can handle more, some can handle less. I guess the job he is supposed to do is just overwhelming him. He can’t do a good job, so it’s time to step down. Ain’t nothing wrong with it.
As for the next pope, I have no idea what goes on over there in Rome.
Joanne Toth, 62, of Oregon:
I have just one thought about the next pope: I vote for Cardinal Dolan of New York. I know it’s a long shot, but it would be nice.
Ginny Hull, of Kansas, Ohio:
I think it was a wise decision for him to resign. I think he was too old when he was elected [at age 78]. They always say a priest should retire when he’s 70, and he was over 70 when elected.
Hopefully we’ll get a younger person and someone who will make some changes for the church -- especially married priests and women priests. I think that’s very important.
Deacon Mike Learned, of Toledo’s Annunciation Radio:
Pope Benedict was much different than Pope John Paul II. John Paul was a very spiritual theologian type of fellow; Pope Benedict came from a different direction, more of an academic, more of a teacher. And I think the two complemented each other very well.
They pulled us toward that urgency to return to the faith, to really live the faith.
Obviously, I was very surprised at the resignation, as most people were. As far as who’s going to replace him, that’s anybody’s guess.
I personally think that anybody who feels there’s going to be a major change in the direction of the church is going to be disappointed. You can look at it in practical ways: Of the cardinals under 80 who will be voting, the vast majority of them were appointed by Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict. They don’t want yes men, but they want people of a like mind.
I want to see somebody with the charism to really reach out. Somebody who can talk to young people and old people, somebody who can engage people and challenge them to grow in their faith and have them listen. I guess I’m asking for another Jesus.