Students respond to pope’s resignation



Pope Benedict XVI attends a ceremony to mark the 900th birthday of the Knights of Malta, one of the most peculiar organizations in the world at St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican on February 9, 2013. Pope Benedict XVI announced during a mass Monday, February 11, 2013, that he plans to step down on February 28. Photo by Eric Vandeville/Abaca Press/MCT.

Andrew Baker

When Pope Benedict XVI announced his decision to resign his position Monday, it sent waves throughout the Roman Catholic Church causing numerous contrasting opinions.

Kent State’s Catholic population has many thoughts about the first pope to abdicate since Pope Gregory XII in 1415 and how the change will affect the church.

“I think the fact that it hasn’t happened in 600 years really says something,” said Ashley Sheehan, graduate student in speech language pathology. “I didn’t expect a lot of people to be cognizant of the fact that the pope is stepping down, but it seems like everyone knows and everyone has an opinion about it.”

Most reactions around the world about the pope relinquishing his power have been positive. Sheehan, who described her faith as “her life,” thinks Pope Benedict XVI’s decision is one of humility.

“He obviously has a very good reason or he wouldn’t have done it,” she said. “If he feels he physically can’t do it, I think that’s very humble of him. It’s only logical.”

Cody Topp, sophomore Spanish translation major, does not think the pope’s resignation matters a great deal.

“I’m not that affected by what Pope is in power,” Topp said. “As long as [the next pope] stays along the basic Catholic teachings and enforces our beliefs, it can be whatever pope from wherever and I wouldn’t really care.”

Topp said he thinks it is important for the next pope to influence young Catholics because they are the future of the church.

“I don’t think I really have the power to say, ‘This is what the pope should be doing,’” he said. “But the previous popes have been interacting very well with the Catholic youth, at least recently.”

Ultimately, Sheehan believes the long-standing beliefs of the Catholic Church will endure regardless of the pope’s situation.

“Dogma is dogma and it will be upheld,” she said.

Contact Andrew Baker at [email protected].