MANILA, Philippines—Netizens took to microblogging site Twitter to express their shock and sadness as news broke Monday night that Pope Benedict XVI would resign by the end of February, topping the list of trending topics almost immediately.
As of 7:30 p.m. on Monday, “Pope Benedict XVI” was the top trending topic in the Philippines, while #Pope, Feb. 28, Joseph Ratzinger, Habemus Papam and Pontificado were also among the top trending topics worldwide.
The reactions were a mix of surprise, sadness and hope.
Some users were surprised to learn that resignation was an option for a Pope. Said Twitter user @mblades_ysp: “Odd to hear that the Pope has announced his resignation. Will be waiting to hear who is replacing him.”
Others, like user @mindanaoan, tweeted their sadness: “Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation is not just breaking news. It’s HEARTBREAKING news!”
“It’s sad that Pope Benedict XVI will resign but for sure God has His plans,” added Twitter user @SiKennethPoAko.
Journalist Kara David (@karadavid) also tweeted: “Sad. Pope Benedict is resigning on Feb 28. His writings were enlightening and a great inspiration to many … Thank you Pope Benedict XVI.”
User @franslexic, on the other hand, hoped for a Filipino as the next Pope: “Our Pope will resign this February. Who’s next? Hope Pinoy naman.”
User @wawam expressed the same sentiment: “OMG, Pope Benedict resigns! That gives Cardinal Tagle a chance to be the first Pinoy Pope! Tagle is well-liked at Vatican.”—Inquirer Research