CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee -(WDEF) Father James Vick of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church in Chattanooga said the announcement by Pope Benedict was a a major surprise but also understands what the Pope is going through.
"Intellectually, he's brilliant, second to none but physically his health is deteriorating and I think he recognizes that. Physically, he just can't carry on the ministry as he would like to in the world today," said Father Vick.
Citing health problems, the 85-year old Pope Benedict announced his retirement on Monday. He will step down on Feb. 28 and the Vatican expects a new Pope to be chosen by the end of March.
Father Vick said he hopes the new Pope is a Catholic hybrid.
"Perhaps a combination of Pope John Paul II who reached out to the world and specifically youth He had energy and charisma; and also the intellectual capabilities of Benedict," Vick said.
The Pope is not only the leader of the Catholic Church but also the focal point that Catholics say must always be in place.
"It's the responsibility of the papal office to maintain unity through out time as well as the world so it's not just our generation but many generations. We have to keep that tradition going," Vick said.