President Barack Obama called himself a "great admirer" of Pope Francis as he sat down at the Vatican Thursday.
CLEVELAND - A large number of faithful turned out for Thursday's noon Mass of Thanksgiving for Pope Benedict XVI at St. John Cathedral in downtown Cleveland.
While Catholics around the world watched newscasts of the Pope's historic retirement, Cleveland Bishop Richard Lennon applauded 85-year-old Pope Benedict for candidly admitting his strengths and limitations to the world.
"What an example of honesty what a wonderful example of acknowledging what is greater than ones self," said Lennon.
"He is doing a very humble thing in knowing that his health…and he can't do what a pope is called to do, so I think he's being a very humble man," said Christie Fleming, who attended the noon Mass in downtown Cleveland.
Church leaders credit the Pope for signing off on re-opening some closed Cleveland churches.
Others at Thursday's mass in Cleveland said bringing more Catholics who left the church back into the fold will be one of the new Pope's top goals.
Pope Francis' pared down papal wardrobe of sensible black shoes and a white cassock so thin you can see his black trousers.
New surveys commissioned by the Vatican show that the vast majority of Catholics in Germany and Switzerland reject church teaching on contraception, sexual morality, gay unions and divorce, findings remarkable both in their similarity and in the fact that they were even publicized.
Two white doves that were released by children standing alongside Pope Francis as a peace gesture have been attacked by other birds.
A document obtained by The Associated Press on Friday shows Pope Benedict XVI defrocked nearly 400 priests over just two years for molesting children.
Benedict XVI has returned to the Vatican for the first time since he resigned Feb. 28 and met with successor Pope Francis.
Pope Francis put his humility on display during his first day as pontiff Thursday, stopping by his hotel to pick up his luggage and pay the bill himself.
Cleveland Bishop Richard Lennon and other area leaders react to the election of Pope Francis I.
Latin Americans are reacting with joy to news of the first pope from the hemisphere, bursting into tears and cheers.
Pope Francis is the first ever from the Americas, an austere Jesuit intellectual who modernized Argentina's conservative Catholic church.