Pope Benedict XVI made a surprise announcement today at a meeting of Vatican cardinals. The 85 year old Pontiff says he will resign at the end of the month, making him the first Pope since 1415 to resign.
The Pope's announcement was heard and read by many Four Staters this morning, including teachers and students in Joplin's Catholic school system.
Local reaction is much like that described by officials at the Vatican: Surprise and also anxiousness to see the process that lies ahead.
But both students and teachers at McAuley High School say they think the Pope's decision to step down is admirable.
Students say there's no doubt today is a day of history and that this Pope's decision may play a role in how future Pope's think.
"Maybe it's showing a change in our church," says Shelby Kenkel, a student at the school. "Since the papacy is so demanding, maybe making it less demanding in some way?
"If there's anything like that in the future, especially a really important leader, I think it's best for them to step down," says Nathan Teeter, also a student at McAuley High.