World leaders pay tribute to Benedict XVI, the pope emeritus, who died Saturday in the Vatican at the age of 95.

Benedict, who was the first pontiff in nearly 600 years to step down from his post, rather than hold office for life, died on Saturday, according to a statement from The Vatican.

“Sad to learn of the death of His Holiness Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI,” said European Parliament President Roberta Metsola tweeted Saturday.

“Europe mourns him. May he rest in peace.”

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also paid tribute. “I am saddened to learn of the passing of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI,” Sunak tweeted on Saturday.

“He was a great theologian whose visit to the UK in 2010 was a historic moment for Catholics and non-Catholics across our country.

“My thoughts are with Catholics in the UK and around the world today,” Sunak added.

The new Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has expressed his admiration for the former pope.

“Benedict XVI was a giant of faith and reason. He put his life at the service of the universal Church and spoke, and will continue to speak, to the hearts and minds of men with the spiritual, cultural and intellectual depth of his Magisterium,” she added. tweeted Saturday.

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Saturday his “thoughts” were with Catholics around the world following the death of the former pope.

“My thoughts are with Catholics in France and around the world, bereaved by the departure of His Holiness Benedict XVI, who worked with soul and intelligence for a more fraternal world,” said Emmanuel Macron. tweeted.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said Catholics around the world had lost “an important spiritual and intellectual leader”.

“With the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the Roman Catholic Church and all Catholics around the world lose an important spiritual and intellectual leader. We remember him with respect,” Rutte said. tweeted.

Maltese Prime Minister Robert Abela also sent his condolences to the Holy See on behalf of the Maltese government in a Tweeteradding: “The people of Malta remember His Holiness’ visit, where he conveyed a message of unity.”

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