RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Around the world, Roman Catholics are expressing disbelief and grief over the resignation of Pope Benedict, the first papal resignation in six centuries.
Some are seeing it as a sign of crisis in the Church.
Others see it as a dramatic act of humility by a pope who found he could no longer handle his duties. Father Luis Rivero of the Archdiocese of Miami says, "There are times that only we know that we have to let go."
And many are expressing hope that a more energetic and charismatic new pope will lead the church into a new era. A parishioner outside the cathedral in the Cuban capital of Havana said, "The church must bring itself up to date with the modern world."
There are also renewed calls for a pope from the developing world. The number of believers is growing in Africa, and half the world's Catholics live in Latin America. The bishop of Fatima in Portugal, Antonio Marto, says there's a "freshness" and an "enthusiasm about living the faith" among Catholics in Africa and Latin America.
In Nigeria -- the nation with the biggest Christian population in Africa -- there are some 20 million practicing Catholics. One man there says there's already a black American president -- and now, he says, he'd like to see a black pope.
232-a-15-(Edward Pentin, Rome correspondent, Catholic Herald, in interview)-"speculation of course"-Edward Pentin, the Rome correspondent for the Catholic Herald, says the Vatican is expected to give serious consideration to papal candidates from developing countries. COURTESY: Sky News ((mandatory on-air credit)) (11 Feb 2013)
<<CUT *232 (02/11/13)>> 00:15 "speculation of course"
234-a-15-(Father John Wauck (wahk), Opus Dei (OH'-puhs DAY'-ee) priest and professor, Pontifical University of The Holy Cross, in AP interview)-"are all possibilities"-Father John Wauck, an Opus Dei priest and professor at Rome's Pontifical University of The Holy Cross, says the field is wide open for those deciding who the next pope should be. (11 Feb 2013)
<<CUT *234 (02/11/13)>> 00:15 "are all possibilities"
GRAPHICSBANK: Pope Benedict XVI, over textured Vatican flag, partial gaphic (11 Feb 2013)
APPHOTO NYJC530: In this photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Benedict XVI reads a document in Latin where he announces his resignation, during a meeting of Vatican cardinals, at the Vatican, Monday, Feb. 11, 2013. Benedict XVI announced Monday that he would resign Feb. 28 - 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. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano, ho) (11 Feb 2013)
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APPHOTO NYJC528: FILE - This July 10, 2009 file photo shows President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama meeting with Pope Benedict XVI, at the Vatican. Pope Benedict XVI said Monday, Feb. 11, 2013 he lacks the strength to fulfill his duties and on Feb. 28 will become the first pontiff in 600 years to resign. The announcement sets the stage for a conclave in March to elect a new leader for world's 1 billion Catholics. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari, file) (10 Jul 2009)
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