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After Pope’s surprise retirement, a shocked media speculates on successor

The world’s media speculated on whether the next pontiff may come from the developing world, while paying mixed tributes to Pope Benedict XVI following his shock resignation announcement. The 85-year-old Benedict said on Monday that he would step down at the end of this month because of health reasons, becoming…

Pope celebrates 85th birthday with Bavarian singalong

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI on Monday sang along to the anthem of his native Bavaria in Germany to celebrate his 85th birthday, which makes him the oldest pope since Leo XIII who died in 1903 aged 93. The pope began his birthday with mass in the frescoed Pauline…

Violence blights pope’s Easter peace appeal

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI appealed for peace in the world’s troublespots in his Easter Sunday message but one of the holiest days for Christians was marred by fresh violence in Nigeria and Syria. At least 20 people were killed in northern Nigeria in a car bombing outside a…

Sex abuse scandals shadow Pope in Mexico

Pope Benedict XVI roused a crowd of young Mexicans and met with President Felipe Calderon on his second day in Mexico, overshadowed by complaints from victims of sexual abuse. Crowds waved yellow and white Vatican flags as the Popemobile arrived in the steep streets of the colonial city of Guanajuato…

Dissidents occupy Cuba church to press pope on change

HAVANA — With a papal visit looming, dissidents occupied a Catholic church here in a bold show of activism, demanding Pope Benedict XVI press for political freedom in Cuba, religious and dissident sources said Wednesday. Cuba’s Catholic church quickly slammed the move as “illegitimate and irresponsible.” “This is a coordinated,…

Anglican leader, pope pray for unity, warn of greed

The Archbishop of Canterbury and Pope Benedict XVI jointly prayed for the unity of Christianity in a rare gesture on Saturday despite simmering resentment over the Catholic Church’s move to recruit Anglicans. Anglican leader Rowan Williams and the pope celebrated vespers together in the monastery of San Gregorio al Celio…

Pope condemns same sex marriage in speech to U.S. bishops

Pope Benedict XVI condemned gay marriage on Friday in a speech to bishops from the United States after the US state of Maryland last week became the eighth in the nation to legalise same-sex unions. “Sexual differences cannot be dismissed as irrelevant to the definition of marriage,” the pope said,…

Pope creates 22 new cardinals

Pope Benedict XVI led a solemn ceremony in Saint Peter’s Basilica on Saturday to induct 22 new cardinals into the prestigious college that will one day elect his successor. The 84-year-old pope, who entered the vast basilica on a rolling platform wearing red and gold vestments, presented the new “princes…

Drug gang warnings ahead of pope visit to Mexico

A drug gang warned its rivals to keep the peace during a papal visit to Mexico next month in banners hung around the central state of Guanajuato which Pope Benedict XVI is due to visit. The warnings, signed by the the Knights Templar gang, were quickly removed Tuesday and came…

Pope heads to voodoo heartland for second Africa visit

Pope Benedict XVI headed for Benin on Friday, a nation considered to be the heartland of voodoo, on his second visit to Africa after his 2009 trip sparked an outcry over condoms. He is expected to be welcomed by tens of thousands of Benin citizens as well as pilgrims from…

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