As the world responded in shock to Pope Benedict’s announcement that he would be stepping down as pope on February 28, we were fortunate enough to catch up with Religion News Service Vatican Correspondent Alessandro Speciale, who was able to provide us with an on-the-ground perspective. What are the hierarchical and political implications of Pope Benedict’s resignation? What’s the mood in the Vatican, and on the streets of Rome? And what’s supposed to happen next? Speciale fills us in and gives us an idea of what we should be watching for in the coming month. Click here for extended interview and transcript.