Niagara Gazette —
The Rev. Michael P. Zuffoletto, pastor of St. Peter's Church, Lewiston, agreed that Benedict was conservative in his ways but he was striving to be progressive and to bring more unity to the church. The pastor said he became more aware of the pope's declining health as he watched him earlier in the month celebrating a Mass televised from St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.
"I noticed how much he had aged in such a short period of time," Father Zuffoletto added.
Among those considered front-runners to succeed Benedict is Cardinal Marc Ouellet of Canada. If he was elected, he would be the first pope from North America and the first modern-day pope appointed from outside Europe.Other contenders are from Africa, Ghana and Nigeria.
Media reaction to the pope's pending departure ran the gamut from editorials praising him for his difficult decision to resign — due to poor health — to caustic opinion page columns blasting his weak leadership of the estimated 1.2 billion members of the church.