Quantcast
Latest Stories

World salutes pope’s leadership, bridge-building

By

In this Thursday, Dec. 25, 2008, file photo, Pope Benedict XVI holds the pastoral staff as he celebrates Christmas midnight Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican. World political and religious leaders praised Pope Benedict XVI—who announced on Monday, Feb. 11, 2013, that he will resign on Feb. 28—for bolstering interreligious ties and showing leadership to the world’s 1.1 billion Catholics, hailing him as one of today’s “most significant religious thinkers.” AP PHOTO/GREGORIO BORGIA

BERLIN—World political and religious leaders praised Pope Benedict XVI for bolstering interreligious ties and showing leadership to the world’s 1.1 billion Catholics, hailing him as one of today’s “most significant religious thinkers.”

Plaudits and messages of respect poured in from around the globe following the shock announcement that the 85-year-old pontiff would step down this month due to old age, though victims of the Church’s abuse scandal welcomed the move from a man they said had done little to help them.

“He is and remains one of the most significant religious thinkers of our time,” Chancellor Angela Merkel, a pastor’s daughter, said in a glowing tribute in the pope’s native Germany.

US President Barack Obama offered appreciation and prayers on behalf of all Americans to Benedict, saying he and his wife, Michelle, warmly remembered meeting him in 2009.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon has “always had great respect for the pope and his work on interfaith dialogue and other global challenges,” United Nations spokesman Martin Nesirky said.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said Benedict would be “missed as a spiritual leader to millions” who had “worked tirelessly to strengthen Britain’s relations with the Holy See.”

‘Courageous’ decision

Italian President Giorgio Napolitano saluted the pontiff’s “courage” over his decision, making him the first pontiff in more than six centuries to step down after nearly eight years as pope.

In the mainly Catholic Philippines, a spokesman for President Benigno Aquino highlighted the sympathy the pontiff expressed for Filipinos when the country was hit by deadly storms and other disasters.

And Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard praised the pope’s decision for its “humility.”

“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,” Gillard was quoted by Australian Associated Press (AAP) news agency as saying in a statement.

Joseph Ratzinger was the pope’s name before he was made pontiff.

From other world religions, Israel’s Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger told AFP that Benedict had improved ties between Judaism and Christianity which helped reduce anti-Semitism around the world.

World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder said Benedict’s papacy had “elevated Catholic-Jewish relations onto an unprecedented level.”

“No pope before him visited as many synagogues. He met with local Jewish community representatives whenever he visited foreign nations,” he said in a written statement.

Justin Welby, who is head of the 85-million strong worldwide Anglican communion as the new Archbishop of Canterbury, said Benedict held his office with “great dignity, insight and courage.”

During his historic 2010 visit to Britain, the pope proved “a witness to the universal scope of the gospel and a messenger of hope at a time when Christian faith is being called into question,” said Welby.

Bishops in Spain—a country the pope visited three times—said they felt “orphaned” by his resignation, adding they had felt “secure and enlightened by his rich teaching and his paternal closeness,” in a statement from the head of Spain’s Catholic Church.

From Serbia to Mexico, the US and Uganda, leading religious figures expressed similar sentiments praising the pontiff’s competence and leadership.

A ‘more quiet’ style

In Uganda, Joseph Kazibwe Ntuwa, the chancellor of Kampala archdiocese, commented that Benedict had had a different, “more quiet” style of leadership than his predecessor John Paul II.

Benedict’s leadership on core issues such as abortion and contraception had met with approval from Africa’s traditionally more conservative Catholics, he added.

But groups representing victims of child abuse in Catholic-run institutions welcomed the resignation.

“This pope had a great opportunity to finally address the decades of abuse in the Church but at the end of the day he did nothing but promise everything and in the end he ultimately delivered nothing,” John Kelly, of the Irish Survivors of Child Abuse support group, told AFP.

In Australia, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) issued a statement saying the pontiff had done little to stop “the reign of terror of child rapist priests,” according to AAP.

The US branch of SNAP said the pope “still has two weeks” to take action against child sex abuse by Church staff.

“Before he steps down, we hope he will show true leadership and compassion and take tangible action to safeguard vulnerable children,” the group said in a statement.

Pope Benedict was born Joseph Ratzinger in 1927 in the predominantly Catholic southern German region of Bavaria, whose state premier Horst Seehofer said the decision deserved the “greatest respect even though I personally deeply regret it.”


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Benedict XVI , Global Nation , Pope , Religion , resignation , Vatican




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. Opinions split on Napoles turning state witness
  3. Delfin Lee: Blame Pag-Ibig, not me
  4. Plunder complaint filed vs PNP chief, firearms office head over license delivery deal
  5. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  6. San Juan cops fail to arrest Cedric Lee
  7. More ‘Yolanda’ bodies found
  8. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  9. Lawyer: Napoles ‘will tell all’
  10. Boy ‘sexually assaulted’ at Indonesia international school
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  3. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  4. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  5. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  6. Bernice Lee arrested by NBI team
  7. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  8. Suspect in Vhong Navarro’s mauling wants to turn state witness – De Lima
  9. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  10. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  8. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  9. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia
  10. Ex-PBA player Bryan Gahol dies in road mishap
Advertisement

News

  • Napoles tags over 100 officials in pork scam – Lacson
  • Vitangcol to sue Czech envoy
  • Senator’s kickback from pork bigger than those of Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – Lacson
  • 43 out of 414 Etihad passengers yet to be found, tested for MERS-CoV – Palace
  • Sandigan junks Marcos family claim to Paoay property
  • Sports

  • Power Pinays yield to Japan in Asian Women’s Club volleyball
  • Caguioa blasts ‘no heart, soft’ Ginebra on Twitter
  • San Mig Coffee grinds out win over Alaska to force decider
  • UP nips St. Benilde; Adamson blasts RTU in Filoil women’s caging
  • Kevin Garnett responds to Raptors’ GM F word
  • Lifestyle

  • Entering the monkhood a rite of passage
  • Haneda International Airport: A destination on its own
  • Wanted: Beauty queen with a heart that beats for the environment
  • Kim Atienza: At home with art and design
  • Life lessons I want to teach my son
  • Entertainment

  • Bollywood Oscars, film stars come to Florida
  • Ex-Fox exec denies allegations in sex abuse suit
  • Kris Aquino backtracks, says Herbert Bautista and her are ‘best friends’
  • Summer preview: Chris Pratt enters a new ‘Galaxy’
  • Bon Jovi helps open low-income housing in US
  • Business

  • SM to rebuild Tacloban hospital
  • PSEi slips after 4-day rally
  • Toyota sells 2.58 million vehicles, outselling GM
  • McDonald’s 1Q profit slips as US sales decline
  • SEC approves SM’s P15B retail bond offer
  • Technology

  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Viber releases new design for iPhone, comes to Blackberry 10 for the first time
  • Engineers create a world of difference
  • Bam Aquino becomes Master Splinter’s son after Wiki hack
  • Mark Caguioa lambasts Ginebra teammates on Twitter
  • Opinion

  • One-dimensional diplomacy: A cost-benefit analysis of Manila’s security deal with Washington
  • No ordinary illness
  • Reforest mountains with fire trees and their kind
  • Day of the Earth
  • When will Chinese firm deliver new coaches?
  • Global Nation

  • 19 Ukrainians, Russians, Filipinas rescued in bar raid
  • Filipinos coming home from Mideast must obtain MERS clearance – DOH
  • US Secret Service in Manila ahead of Obama visit
  • Palace thanks Estrada for successful HK mission
  • Hong Kong accepts PH apology; sanctions also lifted
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement