The Pope declared on Monday that he would resign by February 28 due to his advanced age, evoking shocked reactions from the community. The Catholic Secular Forum (CSF) hailed the Pope's decision to step down due to ill-health. "Indian Catholics will fondly remember him for his traditional orthodoxy," said Joseph Dias, general secretary, CSF.
The CSF backed the Pope's conservative outlook towards issues such as gay marriages, women priests and gay marriages, but differed on his view on liberation theology.
"It is with total surprise and sadness that I learnt about the resignation of His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI," said Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Mumbai, in an official statement.
"Sensing that his health was failing he did not want the Church to be in any way disadvantaged because of his person and he had the courage to do what has not taken place in the last six hundred years," the archbishop's statement said.
"He should be commended for the bold decision citing his inabilities due to his ill-health," said Abraham Mathai, president, Indian Christian Voice, a non-profit organisation.