United Kingdom - Prime Minister David Cameron praised Benedict XVI, saying: “I sent my best wishes to Pope Benedict following his announcement today. He has worked tirelessly to strengthen Britain’s relations with the Holy See. His visit to Britain in 2010 is remembered with great respect and affection." He added that “He will be missed as a spiritual leader to millions.”On the face of it, the Prime Minister's reaction seems genuine. I especially like the affection part.
France - President François Hollande said Benedict XVI merits "respect" but did not comment on the matter specifically as it is internal to the Roman Catholic Church.The President's comment feels cold and guarded to me. I wonder what his religious life is like.
Israel - Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger's spokesman said: "During his period there were the best relations ever between the church and the chief rabbinate and we hope that this trend will continue. I think he deserves a lot of credit for advancing inter-religious links the world over between Judaism, Christianity and Islam." The spokesman also said that Metzger wished Benedict XVI "good health and long days."I like the Israeli reaction, looking at the practical side of things. "Good health and long days." Indeed!
United States of America - President Barack Obama praised Benedict XVI, saying: "On behalf of Americans everywhere, Michelle and I wish to extend our appreciation and prayers to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. Michelle and I warmly remember our meeting with the Holy Father in 2009, and I have appreciated our work together over these last four years." He added that he wished "the best to those who will soon gather to choose His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI's successor."Unfortunately, prepared remarks from President Obama.