Bishop, community shocked at Pope's resignation

The announcement Monday that Pope Benedict XVI is resigning, effective Feb. 28, came as a complete surprise to many Valley residents.

Amongst them, was Bishop Daniel Flores of the Catholic Diocese of Brownsville.

In a press conference Monday, the Bishop said he found out about the Pope's resignation through news media.

The 85-year-old Pope is reportedly stepping down because he feels he can physically no longer do the job.

Bishop Flores said the move was well timed, and is "curageous."

"I think he chose the timing - I think he obviously thinks Lent would be a very good time for the whole church to pray for the grace of the Holy Spirit to chart our path into the future," Bishop Flores said.

Brownsville resident Sylvia Rodriguez said she admires the Pope for making a wise decision before his body gave out.

"We have to be understanding if he feels he can no longer continue," Rodriguez said. "If something happened to him suddenly, it would be more difficult with people to cope with."

Maricarmen Rodriguez, another faithful Catholic, said she saddened by the Pope's resignation, but knows the ultimate head of the church, Jesus Christ, continues to watch over His believers.

Bishop Flores adds that Pope Benedict XVI is one of the wisest men around, but the weight of the world- including many controversies in the church- took its toll on him.

He adds he will forever be grateful to Pope Benedict XVI for his appointment to the Catholic Diocese of Brownsville.

Bishop Flores predicts there could be a new Pope by Easter.