PITTSBURGH — Some Pennsylvania Roman Catholics said they'd like to see a younger person replace Pope Benedict XVI, who announced today that he's stepping down amid failing health.
Four U.S. cardinals with Pennsylvania roots will have a say in making that decision, church officials said Monday.
Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl was born in Pittsburgh and is a former bishop of that city, and Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo and Cardinal Sean O'Malley also grew up in Pittsburgh, said Bishop David Zubik, the current bishop of Pittsburgh. Cardinal Justin F. Rigali, the retired archbishop of Philadelphia, will also be eligible to vote for a new pope.
At St. Theresa's Church in New Cumberland, near Harrisburg, parish manager Elaine Herald said Monday that Benedict's retirement could open the door for a younger, progressive pope — perhaps a black man — who will lead efforts to rebuild membership.
She said the church needs to change relatively minor rules that are driving members away.
Next door at St. Theresa School, which includes students in kindergarten through eighth grade, Principal Matt Shore said Benedict deserves credit for recognizing the limitation of his age and stepping aside. Shore said he hopes Benedict will have input in the selection of his successor.
Jacke Conard, the school office manager, is hoping a young pope will be named. Noting that Benedict in December became the first pope to use Twitter, she hopes the next pope will further embrace technology.
Charles J. Chaput, the archbishop of Philadelphia, said in a statement that Benedict's retirement "is another sign of his placing the needs of the church above his own. He will remain in our hearts and always be in our prayers."