Pope resigns: Pope Benedict XVI stuns Catholics; Bishops and churchgoers react to his resignation

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- It's a shockwave experienced around the world -- more than a billion Catholics woke up to find their leader is resigning.

Pope Benedict XVI announced Monday morning that he's resigning. His resignation will be effective at the end of the month.

"Frankly I'm shocked, but I'm sure the holy spirits will find a worthy successor for him," Anthony Termotto said after attending mass at St. Ignatius Loyola in Palm Beach Gardens.

The pope cites his age and deteriorating health as the reasons behind his resignation. He says his job as pope requires both "strength of body and mind."

"At 85 years old, maybe it is time to look to some younger people to do the job that he has with all the traveling and audiences and so forth," said Alfred Mashnok, a church-goer visiting the Gardens from Clearwater.

Bishop Gerald Barbarito of St. Ignatius Loyola said the Catholic church has a lot of work ahead of it when it comes to finding the next pope.

"The cardinals will concentrate in that conclave in a prayerful manner on who's the best man for the job today in this culture and this world, in this context that we're in," Barbarito said. "And there are men from all over the world so they're speaking from a much broader context than what I can speak from."

This is the first time in more than 600 years that a pope has resigned. There's no indication next who will serve as pope next, but that person is expected to be elected by mid-March.

For more information on the Pope's resignation, visit http://www.news.va/en.

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