East Yorkshire Catholics praise Pope Benedict XVI's 'brave' decision to resign
East Yorkshire's Catholic community has praised the decision by Pope Benedict XVI to resign.
The announcement came out of the blue amid reports the religious leader was suffering from Parkinson's disease.
In a statement, the Pope said he will resign at the end of this month after almost eight years as the head of the Catholic Church.
Father John O'Gara, the parish priest for Our Lady of Lourdes and St Peter Chanel in Hull, said: "I think it's a very brave decision.
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"He is 85 years old and has reflected on his present situation. While he is still alert in his mind, his body is not working as well."
The Vatican says it expects a new Pope to be elected before Easter.
Tom Timpson, communications officer for the Middlesbrough Diocese, which covers East Yorkshire, said: "I consider Pope Benedict to be a very rational man who reasons through things very clearly.
"He obviously felt the Catholic Church has enough problems at the moment and was brave enough to say he was no longer up for the job."