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Local Clergy React To Pope Announcement

MEDFORD, Ore. — Pope Benedict XVI announced Monday that he will be leaving the papacy at the end of the month. The 85-year-old leader cited failing health as his reason for stepping down, breaking a centuries-long tradition of serving for life.

At Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Medford, there were signs posted Monday morning on the doors and throughout the church regarding the announcement.

Reverend Benjamin Tapia, one of their priests, says that a friend in Rome called him with the news at four o’clock in the morning. Word was also delivered by way of the Portland Archbishop, who has been expressing a message of support.

“They said it was a huge sign of humility, a sign of grace, and a decision that has been discerned and prayed over,” said Rev. Benjamin Tapia.

Reverend Tapia also said that, despite the surprise, the overall message is one of calm. The church plans on discussing the news with its congregation.