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Germans divided over pope resignation

Monday, February 11, 2013 - 01:30

Feb. 11 - Germans appear divided over Monday's announcement Pope Benedict will resign at the end of February due to deteriorating health. Jessica Gray reports.

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Pope Benedict's surprise announcement that he's stepping down at the end of the month followed days of prayer, Vatican officials say. At a news conference on Monday, a Vatican spokesman said the 85-year-old pontiff felt he no longer had the strength to fulfil his role as head of the Roman Catholic Church. (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) VATICAN SPOKESMAN FATHER FEDERICO LOMBARDI SAYING: "The Pope says he repeatedly examined his conscience in front of God. It was a deep personal decision taken in a climate of prayer in front of the Lord who gave him the mission that he is carrying out. 'I arrived at the certainty that my forces, given my advanced age, are no longer adapted to adequately carry out this ministry,' he said. This is the fundamental motive of the decision." The announcement appeared to have divided many in Benedict's home country of Germany. (SOUNDBITE) (German) PASSER-BY, ANDREA WORMSDORF, SAYING: "I could only accept it if he were ill and could therefore no longer carry out his post. But I can't accept any other reason, none whatsoever." Meanwhile, in Cologne, people appeared to support Benedict and his choice to leave his post to someone younger. This man said people should feel empathy for the leader of the world's 1.2 million Catholics. Under Benedict, the first pontiff to step down since the Middle Ages, the church was beset by child sexual assault cases as well as a scandal over leaked private documents alleging corruption.

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Germans divided over pope resignation

Monday, February 11, 2013 - 01:30