Feb. 11 - Catholics in Spain, France and Poland express shock and disbelief at Pope's resignation though some appear to welcome the move. Sunita Rappai reports.
Shock, disbelief and confusion - Pope Benedict's surprise resignation on Monday has drawn strong reactions from Catholics around Europe. The 85-year-old German-born pontiff stunned the world when he said he no longer had the mental and physical strength to carry on. In staunchly Catholic Spain, where three out of four are Catholic, some expressed disbelief. This woman says she had never heard anything like it before. "The pope has to be there until he dies," she says. Visitors to Paris's Notre Dame Cathedral were also surprised though some welcomed the move, in the wake of several sex scandals coming to light under Benedict's reign. SOUNDBITE) (English) IRISH TEACHER CHRIS FORD (CATHOLIC) SAYING: "Maybe it'll be a chance for the Church to regenerate. I think resigning might ultimately be a good thing." Meanwhile, in Poland, the birthplace of Benedict's predecessor John Paul II, there was shock and sadness. This couple say they simply don't believe it while this Warsaw resident says it is a "great loss". Another woman coming out of mass said she had liked Benedict as he had continued the teachings of John Paul II. The resignation, which has shocked even Benedict's closest aides, is the first by a pontiff since the Middle Ages.