Catholic leaders in diocese shocked by papal resignation
CATHOLIC church leaders have said the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, 85, came as a big surprise to most members of the community.
He announced his intention to leave office on February 28 at a meeting of cardinals in the Vatican - the first pope to resign in 600 years.
Father Tim O'Sullivan of St Mary's Catholic Church, Bridge Gate, Derby, said: "I has just come out of a meeting when I heard the news and was very surprised.
"But on reflection I recall Pope Benedict said he would retire if ever his age or infirmity meant he couldn't do his job properly."
The Rt Rev Malcolm McMahon, Bishop of Nottingham , which covers Derbyshire, added: "Along with Catholics throughout the world, I was shocked and surprised to learn of Pope Benedict's intention to resign.
"Catholics in the Diocese of Nottingham will all be praying as he prepares for his retirement, and for the College of Cardinals as they prepare to meet in Rome to elect his successor."