Catholic Church marks first Sunday since 2005 without a pope
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It is the first Sunday in years where there is no leader for the Catholic Church.
Pope Benedict XVI started his retirement this past Thursday, and the search continues within the church to find a new leader.
The last Sunday where there was no leader for the Catholic Church was following the death of Pope John Paul II who served for 27 years.
Despite the change, worshippers at the Sacred Heart Cathedral in downtown Raleigh carried on with their normal traditions, dipping their hands in the holy water and gesturing the sign of the cross.
The Church is now in a period called "sede vacante", which is the transition period between the end of one papacy to the election of a new pope. Pope Benedict XVI announced on Feb. 11 that he would be stepping down, and his retirement started Thursday. People at the cathedral think it was the right decision.
"It's a remarkable decision that he made because I think they feel obligated to continue even though they're unable to fulfill their duties," said worshipper Chris Schnell.
"He shows his humanity to us by his decision to step down," said Father Dan Oschwald. "He knew his mental capacity to continue to do the job was diminishing."
Oschwald also said the Catholic Church should have decided on a new pope within the next two weeks, but he does not see any clear frontrunners.
"Pope Benedict's name was certainly not one of the names in consideration when he was elected, so it could be anyone," Oschwald said.
Schnell is hoping the 266th pope can shed a little positive light on the Catholic Church, which is now amid sex and power scandals surrounding some of its leaders.
"I think that it's made people question our faith and our church, and that's sad," said Schnell.
But excitement follows that sadness at the cathedral. There is no loss of a pope to mourn, rather just the anticipation of a new leader.
"It's a time in history that will probably, in all likelihood, never be repeated in our lifetime," said Oschwald.
"It's very exciting. I'm looking forward to seeing who they're going to elect and I have a lot of faith that they'll pick the right person," said Schnell.
Cathedrals across the world are expected to hold a special mass on Monday, March 4, 2013, to pray and celebrate the election process of a new pope.
The Sacred Heart Cathedral is hosting a similar mass at 12:10 pm. The cathedral is located at 219 W. Edenton St. in Raleigh.