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The Catholic World Youth Day festival will be held in July in Rio as scheduled despite the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, church authorities said here Monday.
"WYD will be maintained. The resignation of the pope changes nothing," Adionel da Cunha, a spokesman for the archdiocese said.
Rio Archbishop Orani Tempesta also confirmed that the event was still on and that Benedict XVIs successor would attend.
"We do not anticipate an absence of the pope. It's a tradition to have the pope," the G1 news website quoted him as saying.
An estimated two million youths from around the world are expected to attend the event, slated for July 23-28.
It will be the second time that the youth festival is held in Latin America, after Buenos Aires in 1987.
Brazil has an estimated 125 million Catholics, and is the largest mostly Roman Catholic country in the world.
There was no official reaction from the Conference of Brazilian bishops as yet, although some expressed surprise and pain.
"A papal resignation is rare...I think it was an act of courage," Tempesta said.
Darci Nicioli, the auxiliary bishop of the Sao Paulo pilgrimage city of Aparecida, said Benedict XVI's decision was in line with canon law.
"We accept it with pain," he added.
Aparecida is home to Our Lady of Aparecida, a venerated clay statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the main patroness of Brazil.
Nicioli said several Brazilian cardinals could become the next pope.
They include Raymundo Damasceno, the current Aparecida archbishop and president of the National Conference of Brazilian bishops; Hummes and Cardinal Odilo Scherer, the German-Brazilian archbishop of Sao Paulo who is said to be close to Benedict XVI.
The German-born leader of the world's 1.1 billion Catholics announced Monday that he would resign on February 28 due to old age, after just eight years as pope, one of the shortest pontificates in modern history.