Tributes to Pope Emeritus Benedict poured out around the world led by Pope Francis who gave the following statement expressing gratitude for the life of his predecessor in Saint Peter’s Basilica while leading traditional vespers ceremony ahead of New Year’s Day:
“We are moved as we recall him as such a noble person, so kind and we feel such gratitude in our hearts, gratitude to God for giving him to the church, and to the world. Gratitude to him for all the good he accomplished and above all for his witness of faith and prayer, especially in these last years of his life. Only God knows the value of his sacrifices for the good of the Church."
Archbishop Charles John Brown, Apostolic Nuncio in the Philippines, also expressed sadness on the news of the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict but also profound gratitude for the gift of his life dedicated to the Church:
"It is with sadness, but also with profound gratitude to God for the gift of Pope Emeritus Benedict to the Church and the world, that I learned of his departure from this world today. He has been called home by the Lord, whom he so faithfully served as a priest, Bishop and Pope. May the angels receive him into paradise. May the martyrs come to welcome him and take him into the holy city, the new and eternal Jerusalem."