RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) -- 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 new charismatic pontiff who could lead the church into a new era after decades of disaffection and mistrust.
Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto, Canada, echoed the sentiments of many of the faithful 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 possible 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.
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