Syosset Catholics are surprised but impressed by the news that Pope Benedict XVI would step down at the end of February.
The Pope announced his resignation in Latin at Sunday's mass in Rome.
"I think everyone is pleased with the courage the Pope is displaying," said St. Edward the Confessor's Deacon Jim Murphy. "He holds one of the most influential positions in the church, and the world…but he recognizes his failing health."
The Pope addressed the cardinals:
"…in today's world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the barque of St. Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary — strengths which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me," The Pope said. Read more on The Huffington Post.
"It's really counter-cultural," he said. The last Pope to abdicate the Throne of St. Peter was Gregory XII in 1415, nearly 600 years ago.
"But it's a wonderful move for him and for the church," said Murphy, adding that St. Edward's parishioners reacted with surprise and support for the decision.
"Everyone is surprised but when you hear what's been going on…He made this decision on his own."
Murphy noted that Pope Benedict XVI's decision on what to do after he resigns will be interesting.
"His life after this will be interesting. He may go into a monastery and pray for the rest of his life."
The Pope will officially step down Feb. 28. Conclave will follow where cardinals will elect his successor.