It's something that hasn't happened in 600 years. The pope is stepping down.
Local Catholic church leaders say it is an exciting time as a new pope will soon be selected.
"I admire the current pope for doing that and setting the stage just to say, you know, someone with more energy needs to be in this position."
Monsignor Mike Kuse, the head of the Quincy Deanery, says he heard the news of the resignation early this morning and says it took him a while to believe it.
"For this scenario to take place is new and in that sense it's exciting," said Monsignor Kuse.
That attitude of anticipation is something that's felt throughout the Catholic community.
"For us that is a teaching moment. A time to talk about how the church works and how the pope is chosen," said Carol Seifert, a director of religious education at St. Francis Solanus Parish in Quincy.
Seifert says she has faith in Benedict's successor.
"I think our church is pretty solid as far as our traditions and our foundation of faith is and we're always looking at evolving into a better church," explains Seifert.
And, Monsignor Kuse hopes the new pope will bring a sense of unity throughout the world.
"That person hopefully is someone able to relate," said Monsignor Kuse. "So now it's up to us to let the spirit work."
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