|Benedict XVI will officially step down as pope this month|
Much of Poland’s political establishment was deeply saddened by the announcement last Monday of Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation due to deteriorating health. Poland’s President Bronisław Komorowski thanked the pope for the kind words he always had for Poland and for the decisions he made during his time as pontiff.
“I would like to thank the pope for his visit to our country, and above all, for the beatification of our great compatriot John Paul II. We will always be grateful for that,” Mr Komorowski said.
Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk also expressed his sadness at the news that the pope was stepping down, but added that it gave food for thought on the nature of human life, suffering and our own frailty.
Mr Tusk observed that the day when the pope announced his resignation was the World Day of the Sick, which had been established by John Paul II. “This is an amazing coincidence that Pope John Paul II, our pope, made [February11] the day of remembering, tenderness, and caring for all the sick,” Mr Tusk said.
Jarosław Kaczyński, the leader of opposition and conservative party Law and Justice, said that the news of the pope’s resignation came suddenly and unexpectedly. “I pay my respects to the Holy Father for his work and for what he did for the [Catholic] church,” Mr Kaczyński said. “He continued on the path which John Paul II walked for many years, at the same time drawing conclusions from the changing world,” he added.
The liberal wing of the Polish political scene was less fervent in their comments on the pope’s resignation. Former Prime Minister Leszek Miller, leader of Democratic Left Alliance, said that while the news was a surprise, it was obvious that the pope had been sick for quite some time. Mr Miller, not being Roman Catholic himself, was reluctant to comment on Benedict XVI’s pontificate.
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