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Catholics in Australia and Philippines react to pope's surprise resignation

Tuesday, 12 Feb, 2013 - 01:38

Feb. 12 - Pope Benedict's momentous decision to step down surprises Catholics in Australia and Asia, with some saying they support his decision. Lindsey Parietti reports.

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Pope Benedict's surprise resignation announcement ripples through Australia's Catholic community. Religious officials are trying to relay a sense of calm confidence, but the decision is creating uncertainty in a Church already coping with recent scandals. (SOUNDBITE)(English) REBECCA RIVERA, CATHOLIC SYDNEY RESIDENT, SAYING: "What's going to happen? He's the first head of the church that is actually on technology, you know, keeping in touch with people and now he would say that he will give it to somebody else because he's to ill to do it? Oh my God it's shocking." The 85-year-old pope said Monday that he no longer had the physical or mental capacity to lead the Church - making him the first pontiff to step down since the middle ages. (SOUNDBITE)(English) TIM RYAN, CATHOLIC SYDNEY RESIDENT SAYING: "I think he was a very, very kind, very warm hearted fellow. I met him once here at the cathedral when he was in Sydney. A very gracious man." Many Catholics around the world, including in the Philippines, have kind words for the pontiff and say they support his decision. (SOUNDBITE) (Filipino) 90-YEAR-OLD CATHOLIC DEVOTEE SARI CANICOSA SAYING: "It's about time, he needs rest, he has done a lot" says this woman. "Besides, it is a big humility on his part to leave such a big responsibility in leading all the Catholics around the world." Famously known as "God's Rotweiller" before his election, Benedict fought the relaxation of traditional Church values. During his eight-year reign, he repeatedly apologised for the Church's failure to end child abuse by priests, but critics said he did too little and failed to stem a rapid decline in Church attendance in the West.

Catholics in Australia and Philippines react to pope's surprise resignation

Tuesday, 12 Feb, 2013 - 01:38

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