Tributes for ex-pope Benedict XVI: 'Giant of faith'

AFP , Saturday 31 Dec 2022

Tributes have poured in after former pope Benedict XVI died aged 95 on Saturday, almost a decade after he became the first pontiff to resign in six centuries.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI
File Photo: Pope Benedict XVI opens his arms during his final general audience in St. Peter s Square at the Vatican, on Feb. 27, 2013, before retiring. AP


Here are some of the tributes:

'Commitment to non-violence'

UN chief Antonio Guterres praised the former pontiff for his "tenacious commitment to non-violence and peace".

'Global peace'

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said he would be remembered for "his efforts for global peace and the centrality of human beings' dignity" in his ideas.

'Soul and intelligence'

France's President Emmanuel Macron said the ex-pope "strove with soul and intelligence for a more brotherly world".

'Formative figure'

Germany's Chancellor Olaf Scholz hailed his fellow countryman as a "special church leader" who helped shape the Catholic church.

"The world has lost a formative figure of the Catholic Church, an argumentative personality, and a clever theologian," he said.

'Giant of faith'

Italy's Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni hailed the former leader of the Catholic Church as a "giant of faith and reason".

She described him as "a Christian, a pastor, a theologian, a great figure in history, that history will never forget".

'Spiritual depth'

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.

'Defender of traditional Christian values'

Russia's President Vladimir Putin said he was "an eminent religious and state figure, a convinced defender of traditional Christian values".

The head of the Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill said former pope Benedict XVI was as an "outstanding theologian".

'Untiring efforts'

Ireland's President Michael D. Higgins said he would "be remembered for his untiring efforts to find a common path in promoting peace and goodwill throughout the world, including a steadfast interest in peace in Northern Ireland".

'Great theologian'

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said Benedict was "a great theologian whose UK visit in 2010 was a historic moment for both Catholics and non-Catholics throughout our country."

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the Anglican world's highest-ranking cleric, described him as "one of the greatest theologians of his age".

'Strong signal'

European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said he had "set a strong signal through his resignation" in 2013.

"Once his physical strength waned, he continued to serve through the power of his prayers," she said.

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