COLLEGEVILLE - The Catholic Church is preparing for Pope Benedict XVI to step down on Thursday.  It's the first time in 600 years that a Pope has retired from the job.

Bill Cahoy is the Dean of the School of Theology at St. John's University. He says his resignation could affect how we think of the Papacy.

Cahoy also says, despite the Catholic church's decline in the United States, it continues to be strong worldwide.

He says there's no lobbying or campaigning for the job allowed among the cardinals.  He also says it's not likely that the next Pope will be an American.

He says there's probably never been a more ethnically and racially diverse religious body than the current Roman Catholic church.

Cahoy says there are over one-billion Catholics worldwide.

Today (Tuesday) the Vatican announced retired Pope Benedict XVI will be called "emeritus Pope", and he will continue to wear white.

Yesterday (Monday) Pope Benedict XVI changed the rules of the conclave that will elect his successor, allowing the cardinals to move-up the start date.  They are hoping to have a Pope named in time for Holy Week, which begins on March 24th.