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Catholics everywhere have something to say

Catholicism loves its traditions. Being 2,000 years old, this is perhaps not surprising. What is surprising is when those traditions are broken.

On Monday, the Vatican announced that, for the first time in 600 years, the pope will resign at the end of the month. Pope Benedict XVI, for reasons of poor health and old age, has said he will step down Feb. 28.

Reactions around the world have been swift and varied. Many who respect the church are congratulatory toward the pope, while others have expressed disdain.

As Catholic numbers dwindle in Europe and North America the growth of the church in Africa and elsewhere has led to calls for the next pope to be selected from the "global South." That call was ignored last time around when Benedict XVI replaced John Paul II.

Perhaps this time that tradition too will be broken.

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