MOBILE, Ala. (WPMI) Mobile Archbishop Thomas Rodi said he was as surprised as the rest of the world by the announcement that Pope Benedict XVI will resign.
"I don't believe anyone was expecting this," he said. "It is a rare event for a pope to resign."
Although surprising, he said the decision took courage.
"He's come to realize he's really not able to continue with the demands of the ministry and feels it's time for someone else to become pope," Rodi said. "That's an act of love. It certainly came out of prayer."
Catholics we spoke with echoed the feeling.
"I was disappointed because I've loved this pope," said John Vernadeau, "but I was impressed because he had the good sense to know that his faculties are waning and we need a young, youthful energetic new pope in there."
On his way into mass, Vernadeau shared the qualities he'd like to see in Benadict's successor.
"An orthodox, conservative traditionalist pope," he said.
As for a potential successor, Archbishop Rodi said right now it's anyone's guess.
"There's an old Italian expression, I'll give it to you in English: 'he who enters the conclave pope, leaves a cardinal'. In other words, the favorites are not necessarily the ones who are selected."