Christian world surprised at Pope's decision

Associated Press
People pray during a Mass at Westminster Cathedral, in London, which is the Mother Church for Roman Catholics in England and Wales, Monday, Feb. 11, 2013.  Pope Benedict XVI said Monday 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 the world's 1 billion Catholics.  (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

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KRAKOW, Poland (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI's decision to resign due to his frailty was met with shock, surprise and disbelief from staunchly Catholic Poland to London's Westminster Abbey.

Warsaw Archbishop Kazimierz Nycz expressed surprise at the decision, but said it was dictated by the sense of responsibility for the leadership of the Church, which Benedict has held since 2005.

In London, many worshippers entering Westminster Cathedral for a regularly scheduled mass had yet to hear about the pope's resignation.

"I didn't realize his health was that bad," said Charlie Sweeney. "He's carried an enormous responsibility on his shoulders and the crisis one after another hasn't really helped."

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