VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis, in his first public comments since the death of his predecessor earlier on Saturday, called former pope Benedict XVI a noble, kind man who was a gift to the church and the world.
Francis spoke in the homily of a previously planned new year’s eve vespers of thanksgiving in St. Peter’s basilica.
“It is with emotion that we remember his person, so noble, so kind. And we feel in our heart such gratitude, gratitude to God for having gifted him to the church and the world,” Francis said.
Benedict, 95, died on Saturday morning, December 31, in the Vatican after his health suddenly deteriorated over Christmas. He was pope between 2005 and 2013, when he became the first pope in 600 years to step down instead of ruling for life. – Rappler.com