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Five Towns Priest Reacts to Pope's Retirement

Says pope "is teaching us the value of humility and prudence."

Pope Benedict XVI announced Monday that due to his deteriorating health, he would step down at the end of the month.

The 85-year-old pope Benedict is the first pontiff to resign in nearly 600 years.

Father Eric Fasano, of Our Lady of Good Counsel Church in Inwood, sent the following to Patch about the Pope's announcement:

As a towering intellect, a man of deep faith, and a gentle and humble pastor of souls, Pope Benedict XVI continues to demonstrate that he is one of the great gifts God has given to the Universal Church.

Pope Blessed John Paul II showed us in the last years of his papacy what it means to suffer on the cross of illness and old age with dignity and grace. Now, Pope Benedict is teaching us the value of humility and prudence. In an age when people are living longer, but not necessarily with the same abilities, the Holy Father recognizes that his "strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry." (Pope Benedict's Statement - 10 February 2013) Such honesty and self-awareness is rare, especially among those with earthly power.

The effects of his time as pope will endure long after all of us have passed, such as his efforts to help Anglicans reunite with the Catholic Church, his gestures of unity towards the Orthodox Churches and other peoples throughout the world, his work on the celebration of the Holy Mass (both in the New Translation and in the Latin Extraordinary Form), and his efforts to address the scandalous crises that have so hurt the Church in recent years.

Our prayers and loving gratitude should be with our Holy Father now as he continues to serve God courageously. As for what the future holds, the family of the Church trusts faithfully in our Lord Jesus' promise: I am with you always, until the end of the age.

Editor's note: This story will be updated with more reactions from local Catholics.

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