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Thank You Pope Benedict XVI: 26 Quotes from World Leaders

A collection of tributes from political and religious leaders worldwide

  • SPL Staff
  • International
  • March 5, 2013
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Quotes from Political and Ecclesial Global Leaders

“The Holy Father brought the tender heart of a pastor, the incisive mind of a scholar and the confidence of a soul united with His God in all he did. His resignation is but another sign of his great care for the Church. We are sad that he will be resigning but grateful for his eight years of selfless leadership as successor of St. Peter.” - Cardinal Dolan, Vatican Insider, 2-11-13

“On behalf of Americans everywhere, Michelle and I wish to extend our appreciation and prayers to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI,” Obama said in a statement. “Michelle and I warmly remember our meeting with the Holy Father in 2009, and I have appreciated our work together over these last four years. The Church plays a critical role in the United States and the world, and I wish the best to those who will soon gather to choose His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI’s successor.” - President Obama, Huffington Post, 2-11-13

“I was surprised by Pope Benedict XVI’s announcement but I consider it another sign of his humility and good sense. His pontificate has been a blessing to the world. He’s promoted peace and understanding among the world’s religious faiths. He’s defended the dignity of the human person and the universal right to religious liberty. And he’s been a strong advocate of the poor, the powerless, the unborn, the sick, and the elderly. Pope Benedict’s outpouring of books and homilies has demonstrated his brilliant intellect. These new treasures of the Church will give light, courage, and comfort to men and women of every faith in the years ahead. Our grateful prayers go with him for physical health and spiritual strength.” - US Congressman Paul Ryan, paulryan.house.gov, 2-11-13

 “The news of Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation comes as quite a surprise to Karen and me. We respect his decision and see it as an example of his great humility, spiritual leadership, and commitment to his faith. We pray for the Church, St. Peter and all the Saints, for the Church’s leadership, and for the faithful for the work they will do in the coming weeks to elect a new Pope. May God bless and keep Pope Benedict XVI.” - Former Republican Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum, Patriot Voices, 2-11-13

“The prayers and gratitude of American Catholics are with Pope Benedict XVI today. The Holy Father’s decision displays extraordinary humility and love for the Church, two things that have been the hallmarks of his service. … People of all nations have been blessed by the sacrifices he has made to sow the seeds of hope, justice, and compassion throughout the world in the name of Our Lord and Savior.” - House Speaker John Boehner, Politico, 2-11-13

“Today Pope Benedict XVI displayed the qualities of an excellent leader and a true man of God by putting the interests of the Vatican and the Catholic Church over his own papacy,” Rubio said in a statement. “Since becoming Pope in 2005, Pope Benedict XVI has served the Church honorably, particularly through his work promoting charity across the globe. I wish him well in the future and, as a Catholic, I thank him for his service to God and the Church. I also look with optimism toward the future of the Catholic Church as it prepares to welcome a new leader and as it continues to spread God’s message of faith, hope and love to all the corners of the world.” - Senator Marco Rubio, Politico, 2-11-13

“Pope Benedict XVI has been a great spiritual leader,” she said in a statement. “Before His Holiness’ triumphant visit to the United States, he stated that the ‘world has greater need of hope than ever: hope for peace, for justice, and for freedom.’ That was his message to America; that has been his message to the world. As a public official, I will be forever grateful to Pope Benedict for his powerful Encyclical, ‘God Is Love,’ where he wrote of the urgency for public servants and government to promote justice. Although Pope Benedict XVI is stepping aside, the world will continue to be inspired by His Holiness’ spirituality, leadership, and vision for the future.” - House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Politico, 2-11-13

“We give thanks to God for the ministry of Pope Benedict XVI. I was blessed to meet the Holy Father just a few weeks ago, and I was overwhelmed with how he radiated the love of God. He has been an inspiration to Catholic Relief Services, especially in how he has repeatedly stressed that our faith is inextricably linked to charity and social justice, which he expressed so eloquently in his encyclicals and most recently in his letter marking the season of Lent that we begin observing this week.” - CRS President Carolyn Woo, CRS Newswire, 2-12-13

“Only a great love for Jesus Christ, for his Church and great humility can lead someone to take such a step,” - Havana Cardinal Jaime Ortega Alamino, UK Catholic Herald, 2-12-13

“Yet, on reflection, I am sure that many will recognise it to be a decision of great courage and characteristic clarity of mind and action,” and “The Holy Father recognises the challenges facing the Church and that ‘strength of mind and body are necessary’ for his tasks of governing the Church and proclaiming the Gospel.” and “I salute his courage and his decision.” - Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster, president of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, UK Catholic Herald, 2-12-13

“We who belong to other Christian families gladly acknowledge the importance of this witness and join with our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters in thanking God for the inspiration and challenge of Pope Benedict’s ministry.” - Most Rev Justin Welby, Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, UK Catholic Herald, 2-12-13

“It was his personal decision. No one can influence him. We are no longer in a world where one can stay in the same position if he no longer feels he is no longer capable of fulfilling his duties. He was very tired. We know that and we saw that.” - Mgr Louis Pelatre, Apostolic Vicar of Istanbul, UK Herald, 2-12-13

“I pray that his legacy is preserved and that the trends he led will continue since the relations between the rabbinate and the church during his term were the best ever.” - Israel’s chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger, UK Catholic Herald, 2-12-13

“The Pope’s words will accompany me for a long time to come,” said Mrs Merkel, the daughter of a Protestant pastor. She praised the Pontiff for maintaining “a lively interest in the process of European unification” as well as promoting interdenominational and interfaith dialogue. - German Chancellor Angela Merkel, UK Catholic Herald, 2-12-13

Cardinal Francis George of Chicago echoed that judgment in a statement that affirmed the Pope’s consistent efforts to teach “with clarity and charity what God has revealed to the world in Christ.” The Pope, said Cardinal George, “has handed on the apostolic faith; he has loved all of God’s people with all his heart.” - Cardinal George, National Catholic Register, 2-12-13

Cardinal Edwin O’Brien, the archbishop-emeritus of Baltimore, said he “was privileged to be with the Holy Father this morning when he announced that he would resign as Bishop of Rome and Successor of Peter.” The news, he said in a statement, presented an opportunity to reflect on the Pope’s distinctive role in global affairs. “A staunch defender of human rights and those religiously persecuted and a champion for the dignity of all people, the Holy Father has offered a much-needed voice for morality and good in a world where both are far too scarce.” - Cardinal Edwin O’Brien, National Catholic Register, 2-12-13

“I did think back … to times when the Pope had said publicly that if he ever reached the point when he felt he didn’t have the stamina for the job he would resign.” and “My second reaction was to slip into the chapel and say a prayer for Benedict and the Church.” - Archbishop Lori, National Catholic Register, 2-12-13

“From his work as a young theologian at Vatican II to his ministry as universal pastor of the Church, Joseph Ratzinger has served God and the global Christian community with intelligence, eloquence and extraordinary self-sacrifice.” - Archbishop Chaput, National Catholic Register, 2-12-13

The Pope’s “lifetime of tireless and selfless service to the Church … includes more than 60 years as a priest.” and “Those of us who know him and who have watched his whole life unfold in service to God,” said Archbishop Cordileone, “can see that this decision to step down was motivated by his own discernment of what best serves the good of the Church.” - Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, National Catholic Register, 2-12-13

“Benedict XVI has profoundly bolstered the positive trajectory of Catholic-Jewish relations launched by his predecessor, Pope John Paul II. Benedict, as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, worked closely with John Paul during his 26 year papacy, developing a historic new relationship between Catholic and Jews as “loving brothers and sisters” after centuries of tragedy.

In his tenure as pope, Benedict pledged that he would always stand with the Jewish people against anti-Semitism. He strongly condemned Holocaust denial. He made it a point early in his papacy to visit Israel, going to Yad Vashem and the Western Wall, thus cementing the historic act of his predecessor for future generations and strengthening the relationship between Israel and the Vatican. He became the first pope to visit a synagogue in the United States. And he also visited the synagogue in Rome, institutionalizing these visits.

Pope Benedict XVI reconfirmed the official Catholic position that God’s covenant with the Jewish people at Sinai endures and is irrevocable. He said that the Catholic Church should not try and convert Jews.

There were bumps in the road during this papacy – the rewriting of the old Good Friday prayer for Jews making it more problematic for Jews, starting negotiations with the anti-Semitic group the Society of St. Pius X, and moving World War II Pope Pius XII one step closer to sainthood while the Secret Vatican Archives are still under wraps. But he listened to our concerns and tried to address them, which shows how close our two communities have become in the last half century, and how much more work we need to do together to help repair a broken world.

In his trilogy on the life of Jesus of Nazareth, Benedict re-interpreted problematic passages in the Gospels of Matthew and John that dismisses the negative images and false charges against the Jewish people which has led to millennia of persecution and death against Jews.

He importantly declared the validity of the Jewish reading of the Hebrew Bible, or Tanach.” - Abraham H. Foxman ADL National Director, The Jerusalem Post, 2-12-13

“He has worked tirelessly to strengthen Britain’s relations with the Holy See and his visit to Britain in 2010 is remembered with great affection. Pope Benedict’s message on that visit of working for the common good spoke to our whole country.” - David Cameron, The Telegraph, 2-11-13

“I have admiration for this greatly responsible gesture, that demonstrates a noble and high purpose and regards the government of the Universal Church. Benedict XVI had said that if a Pope found that he was no longer adequate spiritually, intellectually and physically, he should have the right and the duty to resign. The Pope, who no longer feels capable physically, has resigned to ensure that the Church has a strong and sound government.” - Silvio Berlusconi, The Telegraph, 2-11-13

“Popes come and Popes go. It doesn’t mean when a Pope comes the Church completely changes. It isn’t like a politician who wins an election and begins to implement manifestos. It is a different ball game all together, and I hope people out there realise that.” - Cardinal John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan, The Telegraph, 2-11-13

“I saw him to be a man of gentleness, of quiet and of calm, a deeply thoughtful and compassionate individual who carried with him an aura of grace and wisdom. I wish him good health, blessings and best wishes for the future.” - Britain’s Chief rabbi, Lord Sacks, The Telegraph, 2-11-13

“I have no particular comment on this decision, which is eminently respectable and which will lead to a new Pope being chosen. The French Republic salutes the Pope who took this decision.” - President François Hollande, The Telegraph, 2-11-13

“On his election, Joseph Ratzinger said he wished to be ‘a simple humble worker in the vineyard of the Lord’ and in his resignation that humility has been amply demonstrated.” - Prime Minister Julia Gillard, The Telegraph, 2-11-13

Original story: Thank You Pope Benedict XVI: 26 Quotes from World Leaders

Source: Saint Peter's List

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