‘History Will Not Forget’: PM Modi, World Leaders Pay Tribute After Death of Former Pope Benedict XVI

Edited By: Pritha Mallick

Last Updated: December 31, 2022, 19:23 IST

(FILES) In this file photo taken on April 19, 2005 Germany’s Joseph Ratzinger, the new Pope Benedict XVI, waves to crowd from the window of St Peter’s Basilica’s main balcony. (AFP)

The death of former pope Benedict XVI, the first pontiff to resign in six centuries, prompted an outpouring of condolences from leaders around the world

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday condoled the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and said he will be remembered for his rich service to society.

Benedict XVI, 95, passed away almost a decade after he became the first pontiff to resign in 600 centuries.

Modi tweeted, “Saddened by the passing away of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who devoted his entire life to the Church and the teachings of Lord Christ. He will be remembered for his rich service to society. My thoughts are with the millions around the world who grieve his passing.”

The death of the former pope Benedict prompted an outpouring of condolences from leaders around the world

France’s President Emmanuel Macron said the ex-pope “strove with soul and intelligence for a more brotherly world”. “My thoughts go out to Catholics in France and around the world, bereaved by the departure of His Holiness Benedict XVI, who worked with all his soul and intelligence for a more fraternal world,” he said.

Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz hailed the former German pontiff as a “special church leader” who helped shape the Catholic church. “As a “German” #Pope, #BenedictXVI was a special church leader for many, not only in this country. The world is losing a formative figure of the Catholic Church, an argumentative personality and a clever theologian. My thoughts are with Pope Francis.” he said in a tweet.

Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni hailed the former leader of the Catholic Church as a “giant of faith and reason”. “Benedict XVI was a giant of faith and reason. A man in love with the Lord who put his life at the service of the Universal Church and has spoken, and will continue to speak, to the hearts and minds of people with the spiritual, cultural and intellectual depth of his Magisterium. A Christian, a pastor, a theologian: a great man whom history will not forget,” he said.

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak paid his tributes and said, “I am saddened to learn of the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. He was a great theologian whose UK visit in 2010 was an historic moment for both Catholics and non-Catholics throughout our country. My thoughts are with Catholic people in the UK and around the world today.”

Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki bid farewell to “one of the greatest theologians of our time”. “Throughout his life, he showed the spiritual and intellectual depth of Christianity. He leaves behind a great legacy,” he said.

UN chief Antonio Guterres praised the late pope Benedict XVI for his “commitment to non-violence and peace.””I offer my deepest condolences to Catholics and others around the world who were inspired by his life of prayer and tenacious commitment to non-violence and peace,” the secretary-general said in a statement.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday hailed the late pope Benedict XVI as a “defender of traditional Christian values”. “Benedict XVI was an eminent religious and state figure, a convinced defender of traditional Christian values,” he wrote in a message of condolence to Pope Francis, released by the Kremlin. “I will forever keep radiant memories of him,” he said.

Pope Francis will preside over the funeral of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI on Thursday in St. Peter’s Square. “On Thursday January 5, at 9:30 am (0830 GMT) the funeral is expected to take place in Saint Peter’s Square, presided over by the Holy Father,” Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said.

Francis was elected after Benedict resigned in 2013.

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