Pope's resignation leaves St. Cloud diocese waiting, wondering

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The Diocese of St. Cloud is one of eight in the nation awaiting a new leader to be appointed by Pope Benedict XVI, so the pontiff's announcement of his Feb. 28 resignation has prompted a number of questions, the Star Tribune reports.

Officials with Minnesota's second-largest Catholic diocese said they have not heard from the Vatican about whether Pope Benedict plans to appoint a successor for Bishop John Kinney in the next few weeks.

If a new bishop isn’t named before Pope Benedict's resignation becomes official, there’s no way to know how long it will be, Jane Marrin, communications consultant for the diocese, told the St. Cloud Times.

Kinney told the newspaper he had prayed for the pope's health just a day before the announcement. Kinney has talked publicly about his struggle with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, which affects the body’s peripheral nerves, the newspaper reports.

“From my own personal experience of diminishment, I fully understand his decision and applaud his courage in making it,” Kinney told the newspaper.

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St. Cloud bishop reaches mandatory retirement age, submits resignation

Bishop John Kinney has declared his intent to step down as the spiritual leader of the Diocese of St.Cloud, which includes more than a dozen central Minnesota counties. The St. Cloud Times reports 75-year-old Kinney was first ordained an auxiliary bishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis in 1977. He also served as bishop of Bismarck, N.D., before his appointment to St. Cloud. The director of communications for the Diocese of St. Cloud says the replacement process will take several months.