By Susan Gager
KWCH 12 Eyewitness News
5:40 PM CST, February 11, 2013
For the first time in 600 years, a pope is stepping down. Pope Benedict the 16th will leave his post February 28th. In Wichita, it won't have an impact on the daily routine for Catholics.
The Bishop of Wichita worked under Pope Benedict for a number of years. He describes him as a true scholar. Pope Benedict was the one to give him the news he was to be the bishop here in Wichita back in 2005. Bishop Michael Jackels is surprised like many other parishioners at Saint Mary's of the resignation.
“Normally when you learn you're not going to have a pope it's because he's passed away so you have the normal funeral services,” said Bishop Jackels.
“People are just not sure what to make of this and how to respond to it. Are we happy? Hooza! Happy retirement! Are we sad? Confused? Maybe all of that,” said Bishop Jackels.
Pope Benedict the sixteenth is nearly 86 and says his mind and body are no longer up to the job.
“I think he's such a wonderful, holy man. After reading his statement it makes sense he thinks this is the best thing for the church,” said parishioner Carol Meyers.
Pope Benedict took over as pope in 2005. The church was facing declining popularity in parts of the world and a scandal with priests accused of sexually abusing children.
“I just think the churches have to change with the times that come. The responsibilities of the pope is different. He has to visit all these countries and the demands are so much more today and the press is right there to see him. He's visible every single day,” said parishioner Ron Jarik.
Jackels worked under the pope in Rome for eight years. “He's a true academic, a great scholar,” said Jackels.
Bishop Jackels has seen the list of front runners to be the next pope, but he's not concerned about who is chosen. “The holy spirit is running this ship and we'll receive the leader that we need,” said Jackels.
The Vatican expects a new pope will be named by Easter.
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