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Local Catholics react to Pope Benedict XVI stepping down

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Albany/HV: Local Catholics react to Pope Benedict XVI stepping down
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The head of the Diocese of Albany is among those stunned by the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. YNN's Solomon Syed has more on what Bishop Howard Hubbard had to say.

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Leader of the Albany Roman Catholic Diocese Bishop Howard Hubbard was among those billions around the world shocked by the Pope's sudden departure. However, he says the pope's unselfish decision comes from his dedication to the Gospel.

"His pastoral outreach to people, his homilies, his allocutions at his papal audiences and his books that he's written about Jesus of Nazareth are very meaningful and will have a shelf life way beyond his papacy," said Bishop Hubbard.

Bishop Hubbard says he hopes the next pope is "a man of deep spirituality and prayer."

There's already a lot of speculation about who the next pope might be, but first they'll have to determine how that person will be selected.

A conclave will meet in March to determine Pope Benedict's successor. Of course, this will be the first time in centuries a new one will be chosen following a resignation as opposed to a death and that could create some intrigue.

A pope is elected by cardinals from all over the world, but only those under the age of 80 are allowed to vote. It then takes a two-thirds majority to claim the papacy. With this sudden turn of events, experts say a number of factors could determine who eventually calls the Vatican home.

"The same kind of body of electors could very well elect somebody very different, because a shocking decision could produce another shocking decision," said Dr. Jeffrey Marlett, professor of religious studies at St. Rose. "Or, because of the shocking decision, they could decide on a familiar face, someone who can kind of 'smooth the waters' so-to-speak."

Two men with ties to New York have been mentioned as potential successors.
First, there's Cardinal Timothy Dolan, although he's considered a long shot by experts. Then there's Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana, West Africa, who actually did his seminary studies right here in the Capital Region at St. Anthony's on the Hudson. These are photos from his visit to Siena College last May. If elected, Turkson would be the first black pope.

After a new pope is elected, he'll have to select a name. Of course, there will be much speculation about that, and the symbolism behind it, as well.

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