Local churches will benefit from new pope
Pope Benedict XVI leads a mass near the relics of Saint Celestino V during his pastoral visit to Sulmona, central Italy, July 4, 2010. Pope Benedict shocked the world on Monday by saying he no longer had the mental and physical strength to cope with his ministry. (REUTERS)
Catholic churches in Canada struggling to maintain or expand the flock will benefit from the publicity surrounding Pope Benedict XVI’s surprise resignation and process to elect his successor, according to Vancouver’s archbishop.
A “shocked” Archbishop J. Michael Miller spoke to the media Monday after leading a special Family Day mass at Holy Rosary Cathedral on Richards and Dunsmuir Street.
“I was flabbergasted when somebody phoned me at 3:57 in the morning,” said Miller after receiving the news that the pontiff was stepping down. “There had been no recent speculation, as there often is about such things, no leaks. I was very surprised, shocked, I guess, is the right word.”
Miller said the speculation on electing a new pope is widely followed, even by non-Catholics.
“It’s actually a pretty good time for the Holy Father to make this decision, to draw people back in,” Miller said. “That’s sort of (what) we’re trying to do here, (while) in many parts of the world the church is growing faster than they can sort of fill seminaries and schools.”
When asked about Pope Benedict’s impact on history, Miller said the outgoing pope left a “big legacy” on the church.
“Those things always take a long time,” he said. “Pope Benedict was an intellectual in many ways. I think his legacy will probably be in his writings less than in his gestures.”