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Shock, grief, acceptance greet news of departure

By Associated Press


RIO DE JANEIRO » From the parishes of Poland to the churches of Chile, Roman Catholics around the world were stunned Monday at the first papal resignation in six centuries, even as many prayed for a charismatic new pontiff who could lead the church into a new era after decades of disaffection.

Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto echoed the sentiments of many Monday when he said, "It was quite a shock. I was like, ‘The pope has resigned?'"

"We received the news with great regret and much surprise," said Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, who was discussed as a successor to Pope John Paul II when he died in 2005. "This is something completely new for the Catholic Church, though it was discussed during the illness of Pope John Paul II. I didn't know Pope Benedict XVI would make this decision, but the last time I talked to him, he seemed physically tired."

("Pope Benedict XVI has left a clear mark on the Church in Hawaii in the almost eight years of his papacy," Bishop Larry Silva of Honolulu said in a statement Monday.

Silva pointed to his own appointment as one of the first bishops named by Benedict, as well as the canonization of Father Damien DeVeuster and Mother Marianne Cope.

"We will always be grateful for the ministry of Pope Benedict XVI," he said.)

A few didn't consider the resignation bad news at all.

"I don't care or feel sorry that the pope resigned because he never entered my heart like John Paul II did," said Rosita Mejia, who sells religious icons in Santiago, Chile. "In fact, it's good that he leaves. He's done his job, and it's time for him to rest. In five years outside this church, only one person asked me for a Benedict stamp, while hundreds asked for John Paul's stamp."

The pope's announcement that he will step aside Feb. 28 brought reawakened calls for a more energetic successor, perhaps from Africa or Latin America — long considered a bulwark against continued losses in church membership in Europe and the United States.

"Europe today is going through a period of cultural tiredness, exhaustion, which is reflected in the way Christianity is lived," said Bishop Antonio Marto, of Fatima in Portugal. "You don't see that in Africa or Latin America, where there is a freshness, an enthusiasm about living the faith."

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Maneki_Neko wrote:
I think it's generally a good idea to do something different every 700 years or so. Still, when your job description is God's representative to Earth, I bet the exit interview was awkward.
on February 12,2013 | 07:27AM
dlum003 wrote:
You'd think rational, clear thinking adults could go on with their lives without a figurehead to tell them how to live decently and with civility. This is not the end of mankind people, although religious fanaticism will be the cause of it one day.
on February 12,2013 | 07:44AM
tutunona wrote:
May God bless him
on February 12,2013 | 07:53AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
I think God's a bit miffed that He only got two week's notice.
on February 12,2013 | 08:42AM
loquaciousone wrote:
You think it might start raining?
on February 12,2013 | 11:56AM
Sid_Hartha wrote:
Epic fail..."For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need."---Phil 4:13
on February 12,2013 | 11:50AM
likewise wrote:
I think it's refreshing when someone puts their own ego aside and realizes he is no longer able to function in a capacity that fulfill's his office/obligation. The catholic church has an opportunity to appointment someone who can energize the church and the faithful. We shall see.
on February 12,2013 | 12:00PM
SteveToo wrote:
For the life of me I can't see any reason to work after 80. As a matter of fact I can't see any reason to work after 65 unless you need the money. Some people gotta learn to retire and enjoy life while they are still young enough to have fun. One thing for sure, unless there is another German Pope they will most likely switch back to having wine at communion instead of beer. LOL
on February 12,2013 | 07:36PM
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