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Editorial: Benedict’s decision changed the church

It has been a year since the spiritual leader of 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, Pope Benedict XVI, quietly whispered he would be the first pontiff to resign in nearly 600 years.

Benedictdetermined that his advancing age made it too difficult for him to continue as pope.

“Strength of mind and body are necessary, strength 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,” said Benedict.

This decision made by a simple man has had profound impact upon his church and its change. Benedict’s decision to step down allowed the selection of a new pope with his own vision.

Benedict’s last day was Feb 28. Within two weeks, Pope Francis was elected is a series of firsts: the first Jesuit pope; the first pontiff from Latin America.

The change within the church has continued.

Francis’ election surprised the world and he has continued the surprises.

He brings a simple style, which is refreshing to all his followers. His message of mercy and tolerance is bringing hope to many, while causing concern among some church conservatives.

The new pope’s path of simplification and moderation have helped pump new life and excitement among many Catholics. It also puts a new face on the church that has been troubled by a decade of sexual abuse scandals.

Both men are to be commended for their life of service to their church and its members.