SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The news that Pope Benedict the 16th was resigning certainly is a surprise to Maine Catholics, though many said they were glad that the pope made the choice he did.
People attending mass at St. John the Evangalist Parish in South Portland feel the pope's health was a concern, and they were glad he chose to let someone else take over.
Parishioner Shirley Estabrooks said, "With his health and the way he is, I think it's a good thing. I just hope we have another pope soon and not leave the door open too long."
Jane Cote said, "He's feeble, and he doesn't have strength. So he needs a younger man."
This was the first time a pope resigned in 600 years, but Monsignor Michael Henchal does not think it will take another 600 years for a pope to step down. After all, people are living a lot longer these days. Henchal said, "Today, people can live for years and years and years and years beyond the point where they're functioning at full levels. And you can have issues with dementia, you can have all kind of things."
Monsignor Henchal says he doesn't expect the papal vacancy to have a large effect on the search for a new bishop for the Diocese of Portland. He thinks it could delay that selection for about a month at the most.