Memphis Bishop stunned by Papal Resignation | People
The Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Memphis celebrates twenty years of service as leader of his flock in the twenty one counties of West Tennessee in 2013.
The last thing Bishop J. Terry Steib expected in his twentieth year was the retirement of his boss at the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI.
"My initial reaction was really one of disbelief," Steib said. "I heard it on the radio and I said that must be some mistake here. Let me hear some more, you know?"
But it was no error. Benedict became the first Pope to announce his resignation in more than six centuries.
"I knew that he had talked about it and when we had done our Ad Limina in Rome, " the Memphis Bishop said.
Ad Limina refers to the regular visits Bishops are required to make every few years to give a report on their work to the Pope.
"You could see that he was going down health-wise, so when he actually did it---said he was going to resign---I was like, wow, he did it!," said Bishop Steib.Steib said Benedict's resignation speaks to the Pope's integrity and humility. The Bishop said, "He knew that he couldn't serve the Church in a manner that he should be serving the Church." Steib noted, "the Church needed to move on and he shouldn't be the one kind of holding the Church back.It was a big statement of saying the office is much bigger than I am in this regard," Bishop Steib said. Benedict's predecessor, Pope John Paul II, appointed Steib as an Axillary Bishop in the Archdiocese of St. Louis on December 6, 1983. John Paul promoted Steib to lead the Catholic Diocese of Memphis starting on May 5, 1993. Steib is now 73 years old and is required to offer his resignation to the Pope when he turns 75 on May 17, 2015. The Memphis Bishop has high hopes for the next leader of the Catholic Church. "I would hope to see someone who is a man of spirituality and prayer. I would hope to see someone who is pastoral. Someone who is able to communicate. Collegial in the sense that he's able to hear other people, to talk to other people, to hear the concerns and be able to address those concerns. not feeling that he has to do it all alone but in collegiality with all the others around him," said the Memphis Bishop.