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World leaders and King Charles pay tribute to former pope nicknamed ‘God’s Rottweiler’

After Benedict XVI’s death at 95, world leaders and King Charles paid tribute to him.

The Vatican announced that the former pontiff, who was the first in 600 years to resign, died Saturday morning.

Pope Francis, who succeeded Benedict as Pope in 2013, described him “kind” to “noble”, and added that he felt “gratitude towards God for having given him the Church and the rest of the world”.

While tributes came in from all over the globe, mourners paid their respects to Benedict in Bavaria, Germany, as they paid their respects.


After being given the nickname “God’s Rottweiler” in his lifetime for his conservative views, the former pope was called “one of the greatest theologians his age.”

Image: King Charles, Prince of Wales at the time, and Benedict XVI in 2009. Pic: AP

The King, in a message to Pope Francis after the death of his predecessor, said that he had received the news with “deep sadness”.

Charles talked of meeting Benedict at Vatican in 2009, and then the year following when he became second pope to visit the UK in his history.

More about Pope Benedict

The trip was a chance for Benedict to meet Queen Elizabeth II of Edinburgh, and make a speech at Westminster Hall.

Charles stated that he was reminded of the former pope’s “constant efforts for peace and goodwill towards all people, as well as to strengthen the relationship among the global Anglican Communion (Roman Catholic Church)”.

Prime Minister Rishi Moonak called Benedict a “great theologian”, whose visit to the UK was “a historic moment for both Catholics as well as non-Catholics across our country”.

Sir Keir Starmer, Labour leader, also tweeted a tribute, stating that Benedict’s state trip was a “historical and joyful moment for Catholics here in Britain”.

Image Queen Elizabeth II met Benedict during his 2010 visit to the UK

‘A combative personality’

US President Joe Biden stated that he had the “privilege of spending time at Vatican with Pope Benedict in 2011.” He will always be grateful for his hospitality and our meaningful conversation.

“He will be remembered for his renowned theologian and lifetime devotion to the Church, guided through his principles, faith,” Mr Biden said.

“May his dedication to the ministry of charity be an inspiration for us all.”

French President Emmanuel Macron stated that Benedict had “worked with his whole soul and intelligence for a better fraternal world”.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz also paid tribute the former pontiff who was the first German pope in centuries following his election in 2005.

Tributes pour into for former pope – latest updates

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The legacy Pope Benedict XVI

“The world is losing an important figure in the Catholic Church, a combative personality, and a wise theologian,” said Mr Scholz.

Irish President Michael D Higgins made the following statement in honour of Benedict: “At the time of the return to war on our continent, and in so many other areas of the globe, he will be remembered because of his untiring efforts in finding a common path for promoting peace, goodwill, and prosperity throughout the world, which includes a strong interest in peace in Northern Ireland.”

Leo Varadkar, the Irish Prime Minister, said: “Leading Catholic Church for almost 10 years, the son of a cook and a police officer, he was the first German elected pope in a thousand years. He was then a humble worker in the vineyard of the Lord.”

Image: Benedict during his summer vacation in Italy in 2010. Pic: AP

Benedict’s body will lie in state

Head of the Roman Catholic Church in England & Wales, Benedict praised as “one the greatest theologians of this century”.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols stated that he remembers with special affection the Papal Visit to these lands in 2010: “It was a remarkable Papal Visit.” We witnessed his kindness, gentleness, and openness to all he met.

Image Benedict and his successor Pope Francis in 2016

Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, also called Benedict “one of the greatest Theologians of our age”.

He stated that Pope Benedict was the first pope since the fifteenth century to take the bold and humble decision to resign his papacy in 2013. He freely made this decision, acknowledging the humanity of all people.

“In his retirement in Rome, he had led a life full of prayer and now he is going to the eternal rest given by the Father.”

According to the Vatican, Benedict’s body will be in St Peter’s Basilica starting Monday.

Pope Francis will preside at Benedict’s funeral Mass in St Peter’s Square, Thursday. This is an unusual event in which a pope will commemorate the life of his predecessor.


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