Pope Benedict's announcement Monday that he would resign on Feb. 28 wasn't just a surprise within the Vatican walls, but throughout the entire Catholic community.
But a local priest says the Pope's decision to step down wasn't an entire shock.
It's been centuries since a pope has made the decision to resign, so certainly Pope Benedict's announcement is astonishing to many.
But Monsignor Joe Diermeier, of Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Marathon City, says he wasn't totally shocked.
"Pope Benedict in the past has made some references if he or a pope were incapable for human frailty or whatever reason to carry out the office of the Holy Father that resignation is a possibility," Mons. Diermeier said.
He says the Pope also asked his predecessor, Pope John Paul II if he could resign as a Cardinal to spend more time in Germany playing music, writing and praying.
Mons. Diermeier says the Pope has demonstrated his humble nature.
"I've thought of him as a great leader of the church as the pope but his humility has stood out in significant ways, today all the more so."
As for the state of the church, some worry Pope Benedict's resignation is a sign of weakness within, but Mons. Diermeier says the church is as strong as ever.
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