MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It was an emotional and historic day for Pope Benedict XVI as people all over the world watched as he left the Vatican for retirement.

Now, Catholics around the world and here in Minnesota are wondering who will replace him?

Benedict stepping down made him the first Pope to do so in six centuries – he’s now Pope Emeritus.

“It’s a big deal because it radically reshapes and reformulates how we see the papacy, which is an important office, not just for Catholics, but for the world,” said Massimo Faggioli, assistant professor of Theology at the University of St. Thomas.

Faggioli has studied at the Vatican.

“The Pope is a spokesman for many issues for Catholics, and for non-Catholics, and his resignation basically says the Pope is not an absolute monarchy anymore,” Faggioli said.

Now, 1.2 billion Catholics are wondering who will succeed him, and some young people are hoping the new Pope will address some modern day issues.

“I think birth control is a really popular issue among young Catholics today,” student Briggs LeSavage said. “Gay marriage also — that would be something I would really like to see the Pope take a new stance on.”

Said student Jacob Sevening: “I kind of always felt the Vatican and the Catholic Church have been so rigid in their stances on things.”

The hope is to get the new Catholic leader in place before Easter.


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