Lunedì, 24 Settembre 2018
MUNICH

Italian president praises outgoing pope in German's hometown

English
© ANSA

Munich, February 27 - Retiring Pope Benedict XVI is
in "my heartfelt and affectionate thoughts," Italian President
Giorgio Napolitano said Wednesday at a speech in the German
pontiff's home region.
Benedict, who was born as Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger, has
"my admiration for the responsibility he has demonstrated...at a
crucial moment for the Catholic Church," added Napolitano.
Benedict, 85, announced on February 11 that he would resign
on Thursday for the good of the Church, because he said he
lacked the mental and physical strength to continue leading the
world's 1.2 billion Catholics.
His lunchtime speech was given in Munich, capital of the
Bavaria province where Ratzinger grew up, and came on the first
leg of Napolitano's state visit to Germany.
The president, who himself is retiring in May at the end of
his seven-year term, also praised the "strong community of faith
and religious values" shared by Italians and Germans as well as
a shared commitment to human rights and freedoms.
But it appeared that all is not completely smooth in the
two countries' relations.
Earlier in the day, Napolitano cancelled a meeting
scheduled in Berlin with Germany's centre-left SPD chancellor
candidate Peer Steinbrueck without giving a reason.
However, on Tuesday Social Democrat Steinbrueck said he was
"horrified by the victory of two clowns" in Italy's elections
this week, referring to centre-right leader Silvio Berlusconi
and anti-establishment comedian Beppe Grillo, both of whom won
more votes than expected and made for no clear majority in the
parliament.

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