Statements on the death of Pope Benedict XVI

 — Jan. 1, 20231 janv. 2023

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has died at the age of 95. Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni communicated the news in a statement, saying, “With sorrow I inform you that the Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, passed away today at 9:34 in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican.” Within hours, messages of condolence were received from around the world, including numerous political and religious leaders. Gathered here are some of the statements from religious leaders.

Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury

Today I join with the church throughout the world, and especially with the Holy Father, Pope Francis, and all in the Catholic Church, in mourning the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

In Pope Benedict’s long life and ministry of service to Christ in His Church he saw many profound changes in the church and in the world. He lived through the Nazi regime in Germany and served briefly in the Second World War. As a younger theologian and priest he witnessed first-hand the discussions of the Second Vatican Council. As a professor and then as an Archbishop he lived in a divided Germany but saw too the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of his homeland.

Pope Benedict was one of the greatest theologians of his age – committed to the faith of the Church and stalwart in its defence. In all things, not least in his writing and his preaching, he looked to Jesus Christ, the image of the invisible God. It was abundantly clear that Christ was the root of his thought and the basis of his prayer.

In 2013 Pope Benedict took the courageous and humble step to resign the papacy, the first Pope to do so since the fifteenth century. In making this choice freely he acknowledged the human frailty that affects us all. In his retirement in Rome he has led a life of prayer and now he has gone to the eternal rest granted by the Father. In his life and ministry Pope Benedict strove to direct people to Christ. May he now rest in Christ’s peace, and rise in glory with all the Saints.

World Methodist Council

Together with other World Communions, the World Methodist Council extends its condolences to His Holiness Pope Francis and the entire Catholic Church on the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

Pope Benedict was a towering intellectual figure who published sixty-six books, three encyclicals, and three apostolic exhortations. His support of informed theological dialogue between Churches, including the dialogue between the World Methodist Council and the Roman Catholic Church, was a hallmark of his pontificate. Pope Benedict’s impact on Christian unity through prayer and theological discourse is an enduring legacy of his ministry.

On learning of the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict’s death, the President of the World Methodist Council, Rev. Dr. JC Park, commented, “His most significant contribution has been the spiritual and theological retrieval of the uniqueness of Jesus. His magnum opus Jesus of Nazareth, is the living witness of Jesus ‘who is close to the Father’s heart.’” (John 1:18)

May Benedict rest in peace and rise in glory.

Lutheran World Federation

“Pope Benedict XVI was a sharp-minded theologian whose strong academic background shaped his pontificate. We give thanks for his encouragement never to slacken in the ecumenical endeavour and we will gratefully remember his appreciation of the Joint Declaration of Doctrine of Justification,” said LWF General Secretary Rev. Anne Burghardt. The LWF joins with Catholics and other faith leaders in mourning the loss of former Pope Benedict XVI, who died on 31 December 2022. Read more at

Rev. Dr. Ioan Sauca, Acting General Secretary, World Council of Churches

“On behalf of the World Council of Churches, I express our deepest condolences on the passing of late Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. He was the first pope to have come from a country, Germany, with a roughly equal balance between Protestants and Catholics, and one that had been at the very centre of the 16th century Reformation.”

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