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Tri-State Area Catholics Surprised At Pope's Choice To Resign

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- With millions of Catholics living in the Tri-State Area, reaction to the news of <a title="Pope Benedict XVI To Resign Feb. 28, Says He's Too Infirm" href=""the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI was one of surprise.

CBS 2's Don Dahler took the measure of parishioners' moods in both big and small congregations Tuesday.

The 11:30 a.m. mass at St. Catharine Roman Catholic Church in Glen Rock, N.J., was a little different Monday because of one thing on everyone's mind. The Rev. Thomas Wisniewski addressed the issue from the pulpit.

"I think it's a really good thing for us as Catholic Christians," Wisniewski said. "This person that we hold up as our leader is also human."

That positive reaction to the news was shared by many of the parishioners.

"Well, I was very surprised when I turned on the TV this morning and heard it," said Roberta Maguire, "and then I thought about it, and I said, 'You know, here is the man who proclaimed the era of faith for the Catholic community, and he must have prayed diligently to the Holy Spirit to guide him.'"

"I just get excited for the newness in our Church; for our cardinals' meeting, and I just find it a very positive thing," said Loretta McKenna.

"You know, he's getting on in years, and he had the wisdom to say, 'I think it's time for somebody else to take over,'" added Jim McKenna. "But I think that's a great thing for the church."

In the Bronx, at St. Nicholas of Tolentine, worshipers just emerging from noon mass were still a little stunned.

When asked what she thought Pope Benedict XVI would be remembered for, Joan Coss answered, "Resigning."

"I was very surprised," added S. Jerome Martin. "However, I think the Holy Spirit spoke to him. He said it's much better that they get a younger person who can really do what has to be done."

Added Ruben Loiz, "He was a good man, but he didn't give us enough time to really, really get to know him, so it was a short reign."

The one common sentiment among worshippers was that the Church will survive this. After all, it has seen more than 260 popes come and go in its 2,000-year history.

What do you think about Pope Benedict XVI's decision to resign? Leave your comments below...

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