U of I Newman Center Reacts to Pope Benedict’s Retirement
By Jeff Bossert
The director of the St. John’s Catholic Newman Center at the University of Illinois is reacting to Pope Benedict the 16th’s resignation with the same shock as others in the faith.
But Monsignor Gregory Ketcham says the pontiff stayed longer in the position than he had anticipated, serving not only through a transitional period, but establishing his own identity.
And Ketcham says it’s quite possible Benedict’s replacement comes from Africa or South America, where he says the Catholic Church is thriving right now.
Ketcham also suggests another possibility, the first-ever American pope, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York.
“And I never thought I would say an American would have a shot it at," he said. "But I do think Cardinal Dolan because of his charism - he’s very charismatic, and because of his ability to hand on and communicate the faith. And the way he can even deal with people and even politicians.”
Ketcham says it’s refreshing for Pope Benedict to recognize shortcomings in his health. But he believes the pontiff’s best days might be ahead of him, noting his body is weak, but his mind is still sharp.
In a statement, Bishop Daniel Jenky, leader of the Catholic Diocese of Peoria, says he too was shocked with the announcement.
The two met several times, and Jenky noted Pope Benedict has looked a bit more tired the last few months.