Posted: Mar 3, 2013 1:09 AM
Updated: Mar 3, 2013 1:09 AM
MA NILA, Philippines (AP) Filipinos in Asia's largest predominantly Roman Catholic nation on Sunday went to church that awkwardly had no pope for the first time in 600 years and prayed for the smooth rise of a successor to Benedict XVI.
Benedict stunned the world when he announced Feb. 11 he would resign, citing his age and frail health, but churchgoers and the clergy in the Philippines say they are not worried by the temporary absence of a pope but nevertheless felt the vacuum.
"There is something missing more or less in spirit," said the Rev. Joel Sulse, who celebrated mass at the Santuario de San Antonio parish in Manila.
Sulse's parish and Catholic churches across the Southeast Asian nation offered prayers for a hassle-free Vatican conclave of cardinals to elect a new pope.