King Charles leads UK tributes to Benedict

King Charles on Saturday led Britain’s tributes to former pope Benedict XVI, who has died aged 95, praising his efforts to “promote peace” between Catholic and Protestant communities.

The king acknowledged the former pontiff’s “constant efforts to promote peace” and to “strengthen the relationship between the global Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church,” adding he received the news with “deep sadness.”

“I remember with fondness my meeting with His Holiness during my visit to the Vatican in 2009,” Charles said in a statement.

“His visit to the United Kingdom in 2010 was important in strengthening the relations between the Holy See and the United Kingdom.”

Ireland President Michael D Higgins also highlighted Benedict’s efforts at soothing tensions in Ireland, which suffered decades of fighting between the Catholic and Protestant communities.

“At this time of the return of war on our continent and in so many areas of the world, he will be remembered for his untiring efforts to find a common path in promoting peace and goodwill throughout the world, including a steadfast interest in peace in Northern Ireland,” he said.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the world’s senior Anglican cleric, both paid tribute to Benedict’s work as pope.

“I am saddened to learn of the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI,” Sunak tweeted.

“He was a great theologian whose UK visit in 2010 was an historic moment for both Catholics and non-Catholics throughout our country.”

Welby called him “one of the greatest theologians of his age — committed to the faith of the Church and stalwart in its defence.” (AFP)