Parishioners and activists weigh in on what’s next for Catholic Church

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FOX POINT (WITI) -- News of Pope Benedict XVI resigning at the end of February surprised Catholic officials and the faithful on Monday, February 11th. A few said they are hoping this move will mean a church that does more to help the victims of those sexually abused by priests.

A nationally renowned Catholic musician drew people to the St. Eugene Church on Monday night, though the music took a bit of a backseat to the news of the day.

Catholic performer Steve Angrisano was on hand at St. Eugene Church, and he weighed in on the Pope's announcement.

"It's certainly a unique decision that hasn't been made in hundreds of years but I do think it comes out of genuine faith and I do think it's a soul searched decision on his part. I was dumbfounded initially but I think it's very brave of the Pope. He's in our prayers I know that for sure and we hope for the best," Angrisano said.

However, not everyone is as positive about the outgoing Pope's legacy -- especially when it comes to the Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal.

"This Pope never addressed it and he never got to the root problem and changed that," Peter Isely with SNAP said.

Isely, of SNAP, the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests says he hopes the new pope will immediately correct the wrongs of the past.

"You can issue a ruling as Pope saying that any priest that has been found to have molested or sexually assaulted a child will be removed from the priesthood. Period. That is not a rule on the Catholic Church right now," Isely said.

Meanwhile, parishioners at St. Eugene's were focused on the man who will next lead the Catholic Church.

"The Holy Spirit will be with us all as far as making decisions. All those who might be pope were going to be guys are truly faithful. In any moment of transition there's an opportunity for dialogue and it's up to whoever the College of Cardinals picks to initiate that for us," Angrisano said.

Many parishioners told FOX6 News they are already praying for the new pope.

CLICK HERE for additional coverage on Pope Benedict XVI via FOX6Now.com.

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