Live Updates | Reactions to Pope Benedict XVI’s death

Dec 30, 2022, 1:14 PM | Updated: Dec 31, 2022, 12:55 pm
FILE - Pope Benedict XVI greets the crowd from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica at the V...

FILE - Pope Benedict XVI greets the crowd from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican on April 19, 2005, soon after his election. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the German theologian who will be remembered as the first pope in 600 years to resign, has died, the Vatican announced Saturday. He was 95. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini, File)

(AP Photo/Andrew Medichini, File)

The latest on the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI:

OTTAWA — The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has remembered Pope Benedict XVI for his work in dealing with abuse by members of the clergy and for reaching out to Indigenous people affected by residential schools.

“As Canadians we are especially grateful for his efforts to heal the wounds of our past,” the bishops said in a statement.

Benedict was praised for being the first pope to meet victims of abuse by members of the clergy.

“He publicly acknowledged the scourge of abuse by these clergy, apologized for it, and strengthened Church processes to respond to allegations, including facilitating the prosecution or suspension from the clerical state those found responsible for abuse,” the statement said.

Benedict also invited a Canadian delegation, made up of representatives of Indigenous communities, Catholic dioceses and religious communities across Canada, to a private meeting in April 2009 to discuss their experience of residential schools.

“During this meeting, the Pope listened to their stories and expressed his regret and sadness for the sorrow suffered by many Indigenous people in the residential school system,” the statement said.

Benedict also canonized North America’s first Indigenous saint, St. Kateri Tekakwitha, also known as the “Lily of the Mohawks.”



Benedict XVI, first pope to resign in 600 years, dies at 95

Benedict’s lasting mark on papacy will be his resignation

Benedict’s resignation sparked calls for retirement protocol

Wealth of tribute comes for Benedict, who desired simplicity

In US, sharply contrasting views on Benedict XIV’s legacy

Highlights from the life of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

More on the death of Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI:


UNITED NATIONS — U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres has paid tribute to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI as “a humble man of prayer and study.”

Guterres said that the late pontiff was “principled in his faith, tireless in his pursuit of peace, and determined in his defence of human rights.”

He added that Benedict “was a spiritual guide to millions across the world and one of the leading academic theologians of our time.”

Guterres offered his “deepest condolences to Catholics and others around the world who were inspired by his life of prayer and tenacious commitment to non-violence and peace.”


WASHINGTON — U.S. President Joe Biden says that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI “will be remembered as a renowned theologian, with a lifetime of devotion to the Church, guided by his principles and faith.”

Biden — a church-going Catholic who differs with church teaching on abortion and some other social issues — issued a statement recalling a meeting with Benedict at the Vatican in 2011. Biden recalled Benedict’s “generosity and welcome as well as our meaningful conversation.”

Biden said: “May his focus on the ministry of charity continue to be an inspiration to us all.”


VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has praised Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s “kindness” in his first public comments since the death of the retired pontiff.

Francis thanked Benedict on Saturday for “his testimony of faith and prayer, especially in these final years of retired life.”

Speaking during a New Year’s Eve vigil, Francis said only God knew “of his sacrifices offered for the good of the church.”


LONDON — Britain’s King Charles III says he received the news of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s death “with deep sadness,” saying he fondly remembers meeting with the former pontiff during a visit to the Vatican in 2009.

“I also recall his constant efforts to promote peace and goodwill to all people, and to strengthen the relationship between the global Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church,” Charles said in a message to Pope Francis on Saturday.

Charles is the supreme governor of the Church of England.


WASHINGTON — U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has praised Benedict as “a global leader whose devotion, scholarship and hopeful message stirred the hearts of people of all faiths.”

The California Democrat, who is Catholic, said in a statement: “Spiritually, I am always moved by Pope Benedict’s powerful encyclical, ‘God is Love,’ where he quotes St. Augustine highlighting our moral duty as public servants to fight for justice.”

Pelosi said she hoped it would be a comfort to Pope Francis and the Vatican that “so many pray for Pope Benedict during this sad time.”


VATICAN CITY — The Vatican has only invited official delegations from Germany and Italy to participate in the funeral for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. That underlines the fact that he was no longer pope and had requested a simple funeral.

According to a letter to the diplomatic corps obtained Saturday by The Associated Press, the Vatican Secretariat of State asked diplomatic missions to communicate to the protocol office how many people would be attending Thursday’s funeral. But it stressed that aside from German and Italian official delegations, “the presence of other official delegations is not foreseen.”

It added that “authorities from other countries who wish to may participate in a private capacity.”

That made clear this is not a funeral for a pope, which would normally be a state affair requiring the presence of heads of state or government from any of the more than 185 countries with which the Holy See has diplomatic relations.

Italian security officials estimate some 60,000 people will attend Thursday’s funeral in St. Peter’s Square, state TV reported. That’s far fewer than the estimated 300,000 who attended the 2005 funeral for St. John Paul II.


VATICAN CITY — The Vatican says that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s body will be on public display in St. Peter’s Basilica starting Monday for the faithful to pay their final respects.

Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni told reporters that Benedict’s request was that his funeral would be celebrated solemnly but with “simplicity.”

Pope Francis is set to celebrate Benedict’s funeral Mass on Thursday, the first time in the modern age that a current pope will eulogize a retired one.


CAIRO — Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church is mourning the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

The church and its spiritual leader, Pope Tawadros II, hailed Benedict in a statement as “the best successor to the best predecessor” who spent his entire life in “the service of his Roman Catholic Church.”


BERLIN — Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel is paying tribute to the late Pope Benedict XVI as “one of the most combative and significant religious thinkers of our time.”

Merkel, the daughter of a Protestant pastor, led Germany for most of Benedict’s reign as pope. She said in a statement that she felt “great sorrow” at his death.

She pointed to Benedict’s interest in relations with Orthodox Christians and in dialog with Jews and Muslims.

Merkel recalled a speech Benedict made to the German parliament in 2011 and his “historic” decision in 2013 to resign.

She said that “with this decision, he sent a signal that even the pope had to grapple with the burdens of age.”

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that he will attend Benedict’s funeral on Thursday.


ALTOETTING, Germany — The pastor of the Bavarian town of Altoetting, where Benedict came many times as a pilgrim to pray to a famous statue of the Virgin Mary, has lauded the former pope as a humble, yet knowledgeable and unique man.

“He was humble in the Bavarian way,” Pastor Klaus Metzl told The Associated Press. “We all knew what he could do and how much he knew, but he never bragged about it.”

Standing in front of the golden, life-size statue of the pope on Altoetting’s town square, where mourners had lit candles and put down white roses, Metzl reminisced about his first personal encounters with the future pope in 1990 in Rome when he was a theology student.

Metzl said that “every Thursday, he would join the morning mass and afterward have breakfast with us, it was wonderful, his company was so inspiring for us,”

He recalled that Benedict “would always caress the cats at the Vatican, and they knew him, they’d come straight to him when they saw him.”

The state government in Bavaria ordered that flags on regional government buildings be flown at half-staff Saturday and on the day of Benedict’s funeral.


JERUSALEM — The death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is beihg marked in the holy city of Jerusalem and elsewhere in the region.

Church bells rang out continuously throughout the labyrinthine alleys of Jerusalem’s old city and across Israel and the Palestinian territories as news broke of the former pope’s death. Latin Patriarch Pierbattista Pizzaballa planned an official commemoration mass on Sunday and issued a statement of mourning.

He said that “Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has today departed this world for the house of the Heavenly Father. We pray for the repose of his soul.”

In the Gaza Strip, the Holy Family Church — Gaza City’s only Catholic church — paid tribute to Benedict.

Parish priest Gabriel Romanelli said that “people saw signs of his humility when he submitted his resignation.” He said that “this gave people the feeling that this is a humble and simple man with all the difficulties of the world, and he was an example to follow.”

About 1,000 Christians live in Hamas-ruled Gaza, a tiny fraction of the territory’s 2.3 million people. Most are Greek Orthodox, with Catholics making up about a quarter of the small community.


WARSAW, Poland — Political leaders in Poland have lauded Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s contribution to the church’s teaching, praising him as an outstanding theologian, modest person and friend to their country.

The Sigismund Bell in Krakow — one of Poland’s oldest and biggest church bells, used to mark events of national significance — tolled at noon. A special Mass in Benedict’s honor was planned at Krakow’s Wawel Castle Cathedral later Saturday.

President Andrzej Duda said on Twitter that the Benedict’s teaching was a “guide post among the many winding and deceptive paths of contemporary world. “

Duda’s office said he plans to attend Benedict funeral.

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said Benedict was a “great Catholic thinker, a spiritual authority, and a modest person who was nonetheless a person of very great format,” whose “spiritual and intellectual legacy will ever remain important to us.”

He noted that Benedict was close to his Polish-born predecessor, St. John Paul II, who remains a much-revered figure in Poland.


MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin has described Pope Benedict XVI as “a prominent religious figure and statesman (and) a staunch defender of traditional Christian values.”

A telegram to Pope Francis published on the Kremline website said that, during Benedict’s papacy, full diplomatic relations were established between Russia and the Vatican “and relations between the Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches were developed.”

The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, said that he “had the opportunity to testify to his deep love for Eastern Christianity and, in particular, sincere respect for the tradition of Russian Orthodoxy.”


TOKYO — Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has expressed his condolences on the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

The foreign ministry said Kishida also referred to the great contributions Pope Benedict made toward world peace. He said Japan was greatly moved by a message Benedict sent after the 2011 tsunami and Fukushima nuclear disaster spiritually uplifting the people of Japan.


MARKTL AM INN, Germany — Church bells have rung out in the small Bavarian town where Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was born following the news of his death.

Bells at the St. Oswald church in Marktl am Inn near the Austrian border tolled on Saturday.

Marktl Mayor Benedikt Dittmann said that “the pope has been omnipresent since he was elected Pope Benedict” in 2005 and there were celebrations each year on his birthday.

He said that he was affected by the news of the retired pontiff’s death — “although it must be said that, according to his own statements, he has now been able to prepare for this stage for 10 years, in prayer and devotion.”


LONDON — Ireland’s president has paid tribute to the late Pope Benedict XVI, highlighting his interest in promoting peace in Northern Ireland.

President Michael D. Higgins said in a statement that “at this time of the return of war on our continent and in so many areas of the world, he will be remembered for his untiring efforts to find a common path in promoting peace and goodwill throughout the world, including a steadfast interest in peace in Northern Ireland.”

Higgins also praised Benedict for highlighting “the common purpose of the world’s major religions.”

The leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland, Eamon Martin, recalled Benedict’s “humility and gentleness” and praised the former pontiff’s reaction to the abuse scandal in the church. Martin recalled how after meeting with Irish bishops in 2010, Benedict issued a letter to Irish Catholics “expressing profound sorrow” for abuse victims before calling for urgent action to address the legacy of abuse.


STOCKHOLM — The head of the Lutheran Church of Sweden has expressed his sympathies with Catholics around the world.

Archbishop Martin Modeus wrote on Twitter that “our churches have different traditions and our ways of thinking have sometimes differed, but Benedict XVI had a great impact on the rapprochement of Lutherans and Catholics in the last 50 years.”


NEW YORK — A U.S. advocacy organization is mourning the death of a “true friend of the Jewish people” in Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

The American Jewish Committee said in a statement Saturday that “Benedict continued the path of reconciliation and friendship with world Jewry blazed by his predecessor, John Paul II.”

The organization noted that Benedict had “paid homage in Auschwitz” to the victims of the Holocaust and had made an official visit to Israel.

It said that “he condemned antisemitism as a sin against God and man, and he emphasized the unique relationship between Christianity and Judaism.’


BERLIN — Germany’s president is praising the late Pope Benedict XVI’s dedication to dialogue between Christian denominations and with other religions.

President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said in a message of condolences to Pope Francis that “the election of a pope from the motherland of the Reformation and an intellectual who had made the dialogue between faith and reason his life’s task was an important signal for many people around the world.”

Steinmeier said that the German-born pontiff “particularly cared about the unity of Christendom and the dialog of religions, the connection between religion and society.” He added that “he sought dialog with Jews and Muslims and with all Christian denominations worldwide.”


ROME — Italian President Sergio Mattarella said the death of the pope emeritus is a cause for grief for the entire country.

Mattarella said that “his sweetness and his wisdom had benefited our community and the entire international community.”

He added in a statement that Benedict “continued to serve the cause of his Church in his unique role of pope emeritus with humility and serenity.´´ The president said that Benedict “interpreted with finesse the reasons of dialogue, of peace, of the dignity of the person, as well as the supreme interests of religions.”


VATICAN CITY — The Vatican says that Pope Francis will celebrate the funeral Mass for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in St. Peter’s Square on Thursday.

It will be an unprecedented event in which a current pope will celebrate the funeral for a former one.

Francis was elected after Benedict resigned in 2013.


LONDON — The spiritual head of the Anglican church says that “in his life and ministry, Pope Benedict XVI directed people to Christ.”

The archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, wrote on Twitter: “I join with Pope Francis and all the Catholic Church in mourning his death. May he rest in Christ’s peace and rise in glory with all the Saints.”


OSLO, Norway — In predominantly Lutheran Norway, the Catholic bishop of Oslo, Bernt Ivar Eidsvig, called Benedict “the last great theologian of the past 100 years.”

Eidsvig told Norwegian broadcaster NRK that “He masters all the theological subjects. I cannot think of anyone else who does.”


ROME — Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni has called Pope Benedict XVI a “giant of faith and reason” that history will never forget.

In a statement, she praised his lifelong service to the church and ability to “speak to the hearts and minds of people with the spiritual, cultural and intellectual profundity of his magisterium.”

She said she offered Pope Francis her own personal condolences, and those of the government, in sharing “his pain and that of the entire ecclesial community.”


BERLIN — German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is paying tribute to the German-born Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI as a “formative figure of the Catholic Church.”

Benedict, the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, became the first German pope in centuries when he was elected in 2005.

Scholz said on Twitter Saturday that “as the ‘German’ pope, Benedict XVI was a special church leader for many, not just in this country.”

He said that “the world is losing a formative figure of the Catholic Church, a combative personality and a wise theologian.”


BERLIN — The governor of Benedict XVI’s native German region says that “we are mourning our Bavarian pope.”

Bavarian governor Markus Soeder said on Twitter Saturday that “with him, society is losing a persuasive representative of the Catholic Church and one of the most influential theologians of the 20th century.”

Soeder wrote that “many people in his homeland will remember him not just as pope, but also as a humble pastor.”

He noted that “at the same time, he also had to face responsibility for difficult phases in his work.”

The governor said that “he always carried his homeland in his heart.”

The head of the German Bishops’ Conference, Limburg Bishop Georg Baetzing, said that “an impressive theologian and experienced shepherd is leaving us with the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.”

“We are mourning a personality who imparted hope and direction to the church even in difficult times,” Baetzing said in a statement. He voiced “great respect” for Benedict’s “courageous decision” to resign a decade ago.


VATICAN CITY — The Vatican says Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has died. He was 95.

Benedict was the first pope in 600 years to resign. Benedict had become increasingly frail during his almost 10 years of retirement.

Benedict’s dramatic decision in 2013 to resign paved the way for the conclave that elected Pope Francis. The two popes then lived side-by-side in the Vatican gardens in an unprecedented arrangement that set the stage for future “popes emeritus” to do the same.

The former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger never wanted to be pope. But he was forced to follow in St. John Paul II’s footsteps, running the church during a period of scandal and indifference.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Paul Njoroge, right, points to photos of his wife and three children that were killed in the 2019 c...
Associated Press

Boeing pleads not guilty in case over deadly Max crashes

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Boeing pleaded not guilty Thursday to a charge that it misled regulators who approved its 737 Max, the plane that was involved in two crashes that killed 346 people. Family members of passengers who died gave emotional testimony, calling for criminal prosecution of top Boeing officials. The families are trying […]
18 hours ago
abortion Capital gains tax Olympia meeting legislature abortion...
Associated Press

Washington lawmakers hear testimony on 7 abortion bills

Abortion rights proposals have been front and center in Olympia, Washington, this week as state lawmakers heard hours of public testimony on seven proposals that would reinforce abortion access.
18 hours ago
FILE - The sun dial near the Legislative Building is shown under cloudy skies, March 10, 2022, at t...
Gene Johnson, Associated Press

Justices weigh effort to balance Washington state’s tax code

SEATTLE (AP) — An effort to balance what is considered the nation’s most regressive state tax code came before the Washington Supreme Court on Thursday, with justices hearing arguments about whether they should overturn a prohibition on income taxes that dates to the 1930s. Washington is one of nine states without an income tax, and […]
18 hours ago
FILE - In this April 4, 2017, file photo, fountains erupt along the Las Vegas Strip in Las Vegas. A...
Associated Press

Lawsuit: Vegas Strip resorts used vendor to fix hotel rates

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A federal lawsuit in Nevada is seeking class-action damages for countless hotel patrons who booked rooms in Las Vegas since 2019, alleging that most hotel-casinos on the Las Vegas Strip have used a third-party vendor to illegally fix prices. The complaint filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas alleges […]
18 hours ago
This undated photo provided by the Grants Pass Police Department shows Benjamin Obadiah Foster. Fos...
Associated Press

Police: Oregon fugitive kidnapped woman like 2019 Vegas case

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Police in southern Oregon were searching Thursday for a man accused of torturing a woman he held captive less than two years after he was convicted in Nevada of critically injuring another woman he held captive for two weeks. Police Chief Warren Hensman, of Grants Pass, Oregon, said in a telephone […]
18 hours ago
Brittany Lampkin of Yazoo County, extolls the Mississippi Black Women's Roundtable legislative agen...
Associated Press

Maternal deaths and disparities increase in Mississippi

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Deaths from pregnancy complications have become more prevalent in Mississippi, and racial disparities in the health of those who give birth have widened in recent years, according to a report released Thursday by the state’s Department of Health. The Mississippi Maternal Mortality Report shows that between 2017 and 2019, the overall […]
18 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Live Updates | Reactions to Pope Benedict XVI’s death