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World Leaders Pay Tribute to Pope Benedict

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World Leaders Pay Tribute to Pope Benedict

Pope Francis has led tributes to his predecessor, Benedict XVI, who has died, aged 95.

Benedict had been noble and kind – and “gifted” to the Roman Catholic Church, the Pope said.

US President Joe Biden and King Charles III are among dozens of leaders to praise the former pontiff.

Benedict resigned in 2013 because of poor health – the first pope to do so in 600 years. His funeral service will be held at the Vatican on 5 January.

Hours after the announcement of his death, Pope Francis praised his “dearest” predecessor, emphasising “his sacrifices offered for the good of the Church”.

In the US, the White House released a statement from President Biden – who is only the second Catholic after John F Kennedy to hold the nation’s highest office.

Recalling spending time with Benedict at the Vatican in 2011, the president said that he would be remembered “as a renowned theologian, with a lifetime of devotion to the Church, guided by his principles and faith”.

In the UK, the new monarch King Charles III said that he received news of the former Pope’s death with “deep sadness”.

Sending a message of condolence to Pope Francis he highlighted Benedict’s “constant efforts to promote peace and goodwill to all people” and his actions to strengthen bonds between Catholics and Anglicans.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called Benedict XVI “a great theologian whose UK visit in 2010 was an historic moment for both Catholics and non-Catholics throughout our country”.

The head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, said Benedict transformed his image in the UK when he visited.

Talking to the BBC, the cardinal said he arrived with a reputation of being “God’s Rottweiler”, but left being compared to “everybody’s favourite great-uncle or just uncle”.


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