The resignation of Pope Benedict XVI: reactions in quotes

 

The great and the good lined up today to pay their respects - by and large - to the 85-year-old Pope Benedict following his announcement that he is retire from the papacy.

The Italian prime minister, Mario Monti, tweeted: “I am greatly shaken by this unexpected news”.

The pope’s brother, 89-year-old Georg Ratzinger, said: “His age is weighing on him,” “At this age my brother wants more rest.”

Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said: “You will no doubt have many questions but I believe we need a few days to organise ourselves because this announcement has taken us all by surprise.

"We should have a new Pope for Easter”.

Senior Vatican cardinal, Angelo Sodano, said the decision was “a bolt from the blue”.

Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation reads: “After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry.”

Prime Minister, David Cameron, said: “I sent my best wishes to Pope Benedict following his announcement today. He has worked tirelessly to strengthen Britain’s relations with the Holy See.”

“His visit to Britain in 2010 is remembered with great respect and affection.

“He will be missed as a spiritual leader to millions.”

Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby: “It was with a heavy heart, but complete understanding, that we learned this morning of Pope Benedict’s declaration of his decision to lay down the burden of ministry as Bishop of Rome, an office which he has held with great dignity, insight and courage.”

Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols says the announcement has “shocked and surprised everyone”.

He continues: “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. 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. I salute his courage and his decision.

“I ask people of faith to keep Pope Benedict in their prayers. We Catholics will do so, with great affection and the highest esteem for his ministry as our Holy Father remembering with joy his visit to the United Kingdom in 2010. Pray, too, for the Church and all the steps that must take place in the next weeks. We entrust ourselves to the loving providence of God and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.”

French President Francois Hollande said the decision was “eminently respectable”.

German government spokesman Steffen Seibert: “The German government has the greatest possible respect for the Holy Father, for his accomplishments, for his life-long work for the Catholic Church.”

“He has left a very personal signature as a thinker at the head of the Church, and also as a shepherd. Whatever the reasons for this decision, they must be respected.”

A spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel said the government had the “highest respect for the Holy Father, for what he has done, for his contributions over the course of his life to the Catholic Church.”

Angela Merkel said: “The decision to step down deserves my greatest respect. Many will understand that even the Pope has to deal with the burden of age.”

“If the Pope himself, after through reflection, has come to the conclusion that he does not have strength anymore to carry out his duties, then this has my utmost respect.

“He is and remains one of the most significant religious thinkers of our time.”

According to Reuters, a Vatican official says he expects the period when the papacy is vacant to be “as brief as possible”.

Israel’s chief rabbi Yona Metzger said Israel and the Vatican enjoyed the “best relations” under the pope’s leadership.

Dimitriy Sizonenko, Russian Orthodox Church spokesman said: “There are no grounds to expect that there will be any drastic changes in the Vatican’s policies.

“In its relations with Orthodox Churches, the Roman Catholic Church has always ensured continuity between Popes.”

Terry Sanderson, President of National Secular Society, however, said: “Under Ratzinger the Vatican has become despised and resented throughout the world. He has played a major role in reducing the Catholic Church's popularity and its authority.

"Catholics have deserted the Church at an increasing rate, repelled by the inhumanity of Ratzinger's unbending adherence to what are perceived as cruel doctrines ...

"Joseph Ratzinger will now disappear from the scene. Many will sigh with relief at his departure. But we shouldn't celebrate too soon. He has put in place a college of cardinals that are as reactionary as he is – or even more so.

"Whoever they elect as the next pope, there is unlikely to be much improvement.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before