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updated: 2/11/2013 11:10 AM

Cardinal George: Pope's resignation shows courage

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Associated Press

Cardinal Francis George says Pope Benedict XVI's decision to resign at the end of the month shows "great courage."

The 76-year-old cardinal is spiritual leader of the Archdiocese of Chicago, which serves more than 2 million Roman Catholics.

In a statement Monday, George says the pope has always "placed the will of God for the good of the Church before every other consideration."

George may play a role in electing the next pope since all cardinals under age 80 are allowed to vote in a secret meeting held at the Sistine Chapel.

The bishop of Joliet also issued a statement Monday. Bishop R. Daniel Conlon says the pope's announcement "comes as a surprise to all of us," yet is consistent with the pope's "humble disposition."

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