A gathering of cardinals next month will fast-track the selection of a replacement for Pope Benedict.
Leaders of the Arlington Diocese, that oversee Fredericksburg parishes, say they understand the Holy Father's decision. Mike Donohue says its' Bishop, Paul Louverde, will be active in the final days of this papacy.
The 85 year old Benedict cites age and health for reasons to leave the job. The resignation may mean that age will become less of a factor when electing a new pope. The process to choose a replacement will also be similar, yet different. This will be the first time that a pope has been alive when a conclave is called in 600 years. The cardinals will still meet though.
Benedict's final service will be delivered on February 27th and last day will be the 28th. The successor will be decided sometime next month and Donohue says it could even happen during Holy week.