Polish president, PM pay tribute to former Pope Benedict XVI
Polish President Andrzej Duda and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki have paid tribute to former Pope Benedict XVI who on Saturday died at his Vatican residence, aged 95.
Born Joseph Ratzinger in Germany, Benedict XVI was elected pope in April 2005 when he was 78, becoming the oldest person elected to the papacy since the 18th century. He led the Catholic Church for less than eight years until February 2013, when he resigned the papacy citing ailing health.
Benedict XVI was the first pope to step down since Gregory XII in 1415.
"Today the world has lost one of the most outstanding theologians of the 20th and 21st centuries, a close associate to Saint Pope John Paul II," Duda wrote on Twitter on Saturday upon hearing the news of Benedict's death.
"His life, achievements and pastoral service are a signpost among many twisting and deceptive roads of contemporary times," Duda added.
Duda's foreign policy aide, Jakub Kumoch, said on Saturday afternoon that the Polish president will take part in Benedict XVI's funeral on January 5.
Prime Minister Morawiecki also took to the social media to react to the news of the former pope's death.
"The Catholic Church has suffered a great loss today, but the intellectual legacy of Benedict XVI will live in it forever. May he rest in peace," he wrote on Facebook.
He added that as Archbishop and Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger visited Poland several times, and as pope he made a pilgrimage to the country in 2006.