FILE - In this April 28, 2009 file photo provided then by the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, Pope Benedict XVI stands by the salvaged
FILE - In this April 28, 2009 file photo provided then by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Benedict XVI stands by the salvaged remains of Pope Celestine V, in the 13th-century Santa Maria di Collemaggio Basilica, the symbol of the city of L'Aquila, whose roof partially caved in during the quake. Benedict XVI announced Monday, Feb. 11, 2013 that he would resign on Feb. 28 because he was simply too infirm to carry on - the first pontiff to do so in nearly 600 years. The decision sets the stage for a conclave to elect a new pope before the end of March. Pope Celestine V, the 13th-century hermit and saint, was one of the earlier popes to resign. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano, file) (Anonymous)

In the Long Beach area, the faithful were mainly supportive Monday of the Pope Benedict XVI's decision to resign. | PHOTOS

"I hope he does well," said parishioner Mary Fair following an 8 a.m. Mass at St. Matthew Parish at 672 Temple Ave.

Catherine Fitzpatrick said the decision is historic, but added that it's not unlike one's father deciding that he must retire due to failing health.

"It was a great surprise," she said. "It's a historic moment."

Another parishioner, Irene Cisneros, said she believes the pope demonstrated bravery with the decision to step down.

"I give him credit for that," she said.

She and a friend wondered if an Italian cardinal would be selected to fill in the new vacancy.

"It will be interesting to follow it up," said Deli Marrujo.

Following a 9 a.m. Mass at St. Anthony's Catholic Church near downtown Long Beach, parishioner Ray Regner said that he had heard the pope's health problems could make it difficult for him to travel. He added that he had also heard there might be mental failings, as well.

"It was a surprise," Regner said. "But I've known a lot of people who lose their abilities as they aged."

Parishioner Yadira Gonzalez said she believes the pope may simply be accepting his fate.

"There's always a greater calling," she said.