The popes decision to step down was courageous, humble and timely, according to local officials and church members.
I thought it was actually a very smart thing for him to do, said Jim Coughlin, a lifelong Boise Catholic who watched Benedict XVI celebrate Christmas Eve mass. He didnt look well.
Benedict was lauded by Idaho Bishop Michael P. Driscoll and Catholics in the Valley for the integrity of his decision.
When youre in a position of leadership, taking that position is not easy, said Hernan Gutierrez of Boise, one of Idahos 160,000 Catholics.
Benedicts retirement is a recognition that the papacy is not a monarchy, it is an elected office, and when you cant do it, someone else has to, said the Rev. Thomas Faucher, pastor at St. Marys Catholic Church in Boise. This man is showing great wisdom.
Driscoll credited the pope with trying to restore unity among factions that opposed Vatican II, a council called by Pope John XXIII half a century ago to bring the church into the modern era and open it to new ways of doing things.
Hes been a hard worker, hes been a very talented worker and he has been a good leader of our church, Driscoll said.
But Benedict steps down with an uncertain legacy.
Margo Mojica of Eagle says he brought the Catholic Mass more in line with the original Latin service, creating a more beautiful translation. (The process began under Pope Benedicts predecessor and was completed during his time as pope.)
Faucher and others say his record on handling the churchs sex scandals wasnt as strong as it could have been.
He is the pope who did not discipline the bishops who caused the cover-up, Faucher said.
Among the cardinals who will choose the new pope are four who have visited Idaho as bishops. Two, William Levada and Francis George, were head of the Portland archdiocese that includes Idaho, Faucher said.
Bill Roberts: 377-6408, Twitter: @IDS_BillRoberts