World leaders mourn the passing of former Pope Benedict XVI and praise his “dedication to the Church”.

Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI died on Saturday morning at the Mater Ecclesia convent in the Vatican.

Benedict was the first pope in 600 years to step down – in 2013. Benedict had become increasingly vulnerable during his nearly 10 years of retirement.

Vatican

Pope Francis has praised the “kindness” of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in his first public comments since the retired pope’s death.

Francis thanked Benedict on Saturday for “his testimony of faith and prayer, especially in these last years of his retired life”.

United States

US President Joe Biden said on Saturday that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI “will be remembered as a distinguished theologian, with a lifelong commitment to the Church, guided by his principles and faith.”

Biden — a churchgoing Catholic who disagrees with the church’s teachings on abortion and some other social issues — issued a statement recalling a meeting with Benedict at the Vatican in 2011. Biden recalled Benedict’s “generosity and welcome as well as our meaningful conversation”.

Biden said, “May his focus on the ministry of charity continue to be an inspiration to all of us.”

The United Kingdom

King Charles III of the United Kingdom said he received the news of the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI “with deep sadness”, and said he fondly remembers meeting the former pope during a visit to the Vatican in 2009.

“I also remember his continued efforts to promote peace and goodwill for all people and to strengthen the relationship between the worldwide Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church,” Charles said in a message to Pope Francis on Saturday.

Germany

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz also pays tribute to German-born Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI as a “formative figure of the Catholic Church”.

Scholz said on Twitter that “Benedict XVI as the ‘German’ pope was a special church leader for many, not just in this country.”

The German president praised the late Pope Benedict XVI’s commitment to dialogue between Christian denominations and with other religions.

President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, in a message of condolence to Pope Francis, said that “the election of a pope from the motherland of the Reformation and an intellectual who made the dialogue between faith and reason his life’s mission sent an important message to many people in the surroundings. the world.”

Poland

Polish President Andrzej Duda said on Twitter that Benedict’s teachings were a “guide post among the many tortuous and deceptive paths of the contemporary world.”

Duda’s office said he plans to attend Benedict’s funeral.

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said Benedict was a “great Catholic thinker, a spiritual authority and a humble person who was nevertheless a person of very great stature”, whose “spiritual and intellectual legacy will always remain important to us”.

Japan

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has expressed his condolences on the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

The State Department said Kishida also referred to the great contributions Pope Benedict made to world peace.

He said Japan was deeply moved by a message Benedict sent after the 2011 tsunami and the Fukushima nuclear disaster, in which the people of Japan were spiritually uplifted.

Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin has described Pope Benedict XVI as “a prominent religious figure and statesman (and) a staunch defender of traditional Christian values”.

A telegram to Pope Francis published on the Kremlin’s website said that full diplomatic relations were established between Russia and the Vatican during Benedict’s papacy “and relations between the Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches were developed” .

Italy

Italian President Sergio Mattarella said the death of the pope emeritus is a cause of sorrow for the entire country.

Mattarella said that “his gentleness and his wisdom had benefited our community and the entire international community.”

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni called Pope Benedict XVI a “giant of faith and reason” whom history will never forget.

In a statement, she praised his lifelong service to the church and his ability to “speak to the hearts and minds of men with the spiritual, cultural and intellectual depth of his Magisterium.”

Ireland

The Irish president has paid tribute to the late Pope Benedict XVI and emphasized his interest in promoting peace in Northern Ireland.

President Michael D Higgins said in a statement that “at this time of the return of war on our continent and in so many parts of the world, he will be remembered for his tireless efforts to find a common path for advancing peace.”



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