Elaine Herald, manager at St. Theresa of the Infant Jesus Parish in New Cumberland, near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, welcomed the speculation about a progressive pope, perhaps a black person.
‘‘We’re kind of excited at the (prospect) of a pope that our Catholics seem to be screaming for,’’ Herald said.
Others praised Benedict precisely for his defense of traditional values.
‘‘He has always been a defender of the faith against women in the clergy, against Planned Parenthood, against abortion. He’s been a defender of the faith against heresies in the church,’’ said Eric Husseini, a member of the conservative Catholic movement Opus Dei, after attending morning Mass at St. Mary Catholic Church in Hagerstown, Md.
Many Catholics, however, said they admired Benedict for his bravery and modesty in deciding to step aside.
The resignation was an act of deference to the greater good by a man ‘‘demonstrating his humanity,’’ said Father Luis Rivero, Archdiocesan director of campus ministry for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Miami.
‘‘There are times that only we know that we have to let go. And sometimes people may see that as a failure, but it’s honorable when someone reaches their point they have to let go because they can’t do this effectively anymore.’’
Fabiola Sanchez in Caracas, Venezuela; Rob Gillies in Toronto, Canada; Alberto Arce in Tegucigalpa, Honduras; Barry Hatton in Lisbon, Portugal; Dave Dishneau, in Hagerstown, Md.; Peter Jackson in New Cumberland, Pa.; Yinka Ibukun in Lagos, Nigeria; Marcos Aleman in San Salvador, El Salvador; Gonzalo Solano in Quito, Ecuador; Suzette Laboy, in Miami, Fl.; and Cesar Garcia, in Bogota, Colombia contributed to this report.
AP video online: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8flqf9_Vfs