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Praise for pope's decision in St Albans
Religious figures in St Albans have praised the pope’s decision to step down as head of the Catholic Church.
Pope Benedict XVI announced that he will resign at the end of the month as he believes he is too old to carry on in the position.
The 85-year-old’s shock decision is the first papal resignation in nearly 600 years.
Father Sweeney, from the St Albans and St Stephen Church in Beaconsfield Road, said: "I think it is great news in the sense that he has decided he can’t do what he is needed to do and he has had the courage to say that.
"I think there is something very human and personal about that.
"He came out and made the statement himself.
"He has taken a very brave step. I think he has set an example to us all."
Pope Benedict XVI took up the position in 2005 following the death of John Paul II.
Father Tim Edgar, from St Bartholomew Church in Vesta Avenue, learnt about the resignation on Twitter.
He said: "It has come as a huge shock.
"I think it is a really courageous thing that he has done for the good of the church.
"He was such a clear thinking pope.
"I think that people around the world will be praying for him."
A new pope is expected to be elected before Easter.