“As a ‘German’ pope, Benedict XVI was a special church leader for many, not only this country,” Scholz wrote on Twitter.
“The world has lost a formative figure of the Catholic Church, an argumentative personality and a clever theologian.”
In a separate statement, President Frank-Walter Steinmeier described Benedict as someone who “has made dialogue between faith and reason his life’s work”.
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He had also sought dialogue with Jews, Muslims and all Christian denominations worldwide, said the president.
Steinmeier also noted that Benedict had been confronted by the sex abuse scandal that had rocked the Catholic Church worldwide.
He “knew of the great suffering of the victims and the immense damage to the credibility of the Catholic Church,” said Steinmeier.
While hailing Benedict as an “impressive theologian and experienced shepherd”, the head of the German Bishops Conference was more critical about Benedict’s record over the abuse scandal.
“He asked for forgiveness from those affected and yet questions remained unanswered,” said Georg Baetzing.