Supporters of Pope Benedict gathered in St. Peter’s Square in Rome as news of his resignation began to sink in. They may have been few in number now but a steady build up of followers is expected over the next few weeks. Monday’s late night serenade for the Pontiff was accompainied by banners and chants of encouragement.
In Paris a special service was held in Notre Dame.
While some worshippers said Pope Benedict should not be standing down others valued his contribution during his eight year tenure.
One woman said: “I think he was different from Jean Paul II who was very charismatic. Benedict XVI told the truth with a simplicity that touched everyone.”
In Bethlehem local residents said the Pope’s decision was unexpected but considered it a positive move with many looking to the future.
“As a Palestinian Christian, what I would expect, and what I hope for and pray for actually, is that the coming Pope will be even more invested and more concerned with the end of occupation on the Palestinian lands,” said a one local.
In Jerusalem the mood was of acceptance, with many applauding what they described as Benedict’s courageous move to make way for a younger hands.