Pope Benedict's decision to stand down is a "shock"
NORTH East Lincolnshire's Roman Catholic community has been "shocked" by Pope Benedict's decision to stand down as leader of the church.
Rev Fr James Earley, Dean at St Pius, in Chelmsford Avenue, said it is the first time in 600 years a Pope has retired. They normally die in office.
He said: "This decision is a shock for the Roman Catholic community and it will take a while for us to overcome that.
"In one sense, he was an interim Pope, who was elected late in life, and he has become very frail.
"It is probably time for somebody younger and more energetic to be elected to the role. But it has still come as a shock to us all."