Father Doug Hennessy of the Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Bloomington, said the next pope might be from Asia or Africa. (Photo by Sarah Beckman)
By Sarah Beckman
BLOOMINGTON - After news of Pope Benedict's resignation, many local Catholics are talking about who might be next in line.
Father Doug Hennessy of the Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Bloomington, said he doesn't expect the new leader to be American.
"Because of America's prominence in the world, I think it's unlikely for an American to be the pope," said Fr. Hennessy. "The next one could be Italian because a lot of Italians have just been named to the College of Cardinals. Or it could be someone from a developing country, such as Asia or Africa."
Benedict cited a lack of strength to fulfill his duties for his resignation. He was elected at age 78, making him the oldest pope chosen in nearly 300 years. The pope is now 85 years old.
Fr. Hennessy said Benedict's resignation is a "wise move."
"We all tend to live longer now, and this issue of a pope who reaches an age where he can't function adequately anymore will become more and more frequent," said Fr. Hennessy. "I think when Pope Benedict lived in Rome as John Paul II declined, he saw his decline and wanted to be sure that didn't happen to him."
The move allows the Vatican to hold a conclave before Easter to elect a new pope, since the traditional mourning time that would follow the death of a pope does not have to be observed.
Pope Benedict XVI will become the first pontiff in 600 years to resign. He plans to step down by the end of the month.