Originally published February 11, 2013 at 4:22 p.m., updated February 12, 2013 at 2:53 p.m.
Pope Benedict's resignation was a surprise to San Diego's Roman Catholic bishop, but not completely unexpected. The Pope had hinted he would step down if unable to perform his duties.
Sandi Dolbee, former UT San Diego Religion/Ethics Reporter
Father Bill Headley, USD Professor of Peace Studies
Jimmy Akin, Catholic Answers
The change in Rome means change in San Diego.
"I would say let us join the pope himself in praying that the College of Cardinals will come up with a worthy successor who can continue to address the concerns, not only of the church, but of the world at this point in history," said Bishop Robert Brom San Diego and Imperial County Diocese
The cardinals will chose the next pope and that will happen shortly after Benedict leaves office.
"Any cardinal that enters into that conclave is electable. So that includes the cardinals from Africa, from Latin America as well as any other," said Brom.
With nearly a million Catholics in San Diego County and more than 90 parishes, what happens in Rome and at the Vatican will have an impact on what happens here.
"I don't think its unsettling," said Susie Paulikbabka, USD Professor of Theology and Religion. This pope has not had the sort of long tenure that JP2 (Pope John-Paul II) had. Has not had the sort of real devotion that JP2 had. He's been more of a quieter pope. He has not been in the public view to the extent that John Paul II was."
Paulikbabka said this is an opportunity for change, like considering women in the priesthood, and the wider social issue of gay marriage. But whether that will happen, she is far from sure.
"All of the appointees in the College of Cardinals have come from John-Paul II or the current pope. So it's a situation where they're all in that same doctrinal, authoritarian, hard line attitude," said Paulikbabka.