President Barack Obama called himself a "great admirer" of Pope Francis as he sat down at the Vatican Thursday.
CLEVELAND - Pope Benedict XVI will be held high regard by members of Cleveland churches ordered reopened by the Vatican under his watch, a lay leader of a spared congregation said Monday.
"The miracle of our reopening happened under his reign and we are very sorry to lose him and we will miss him," said Miklos Peller of the Hungarian-language St. Emeric Church in Cleveland.
While the reopening decision came from a Vatican agency and not directly from Benedict, "I'm sure the pope may have inspired the cardinals in the congregation to come up with the right answer," Peller said.
St. Emeric was one of 11 closed churches ordered reopened by the Vatican, which also overturned the merger of a 12th congregation. The pope's portrait hangs in a vestibule of St. Emeric.
The spared churches were among 50 closed or merged because of declining congregations, finances and priests. Cleveland Bishop Richard Lennon announced last April that he would not challenge Vatican decrees declaring he failed to follow proper procedures in closing the parishes.
In Cincinnati, Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr, who was appointed by Benedict, said the resignation reflected an unselfish attitude by the pope.
"In announcing his resignation, Pope Benedict XVI has acted humbly and unselfishly for the good of the church. That same spirit has characterized his entire life of service," Schnurr said in a statement.
"In my several encounters with him I found this brilliant theologian to be unfailingly kind, hospitable and welcoming."
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.