VATICAN CITY - Supporters of liberal reform in the Catholic Church said on Monday they hoped Pope Benedict's successor would give a greater voice to women and reconsider rules on priestly celibacy, women priests and same-sex couples.
Benedict, who, like his predecessor John Paul, firmly opposed the ordination of women priests and described gay marriage as a threat to humanity's future, said on Monday he would resign at the end of February, announcing the first papal abdication in 700 years.
The Women's Ordination Conference (WOC), an advocate group for female priests, said the Church was crying out for a leader who would give women a greater role in decision making.
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