ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - Monday morning the Archdiocese of St. Louis held a meeting to discuss Pope Benedict XVI stepping down and how it affects the community.
PHOTOS: Pope Benedict XVI stepping down
There are a few takeaways from the meeting. First, this was a bombshell for everyone. The acting of a pope resigning is nearly unprecedented. The last time this happened was when Pope Gregory XII stepped down in 1415.
Although the move was surprising, it is highly respected among leadership.
The Archdiocese of St. Louis held a conference at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary with Bishop Edward Rice and Monsignor Michael Witt. Archbishop Robert Carlson out of town.
Bishop Rice said he recently saw the pope and that everyone knew he was slowing down. Both Bishop Rice and Monsignor Witt called the move graceful and said it may set a new precedent for popes to come.
As for the next appointment, they say that's something for the Holy Spirit, even if a native is in the running.
Monsignor Witt, a church historian, says Benedict, as a former pope and a man beyond the age of 80, will likely have no input in the next appointment.
Here is the open letter sent by the Archdiocese of St. Louis:
"The people of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis and Catholics around the world learned today that our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation effective February 28, 2013, because of advanced age and declining health. He made this surprise announcement to the Cardinals in Rome earlier this morning.
"In this Year of Faith, we pray for the Holy Father and offer him our fraternal support. We have been blessed by his leadership in boldly proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ and challenging us all to draw close to Christ. We also begin our prayer for the Cardinals of the Church as they prepare to go to Rome to elect a successor."