According to Reuters, on Monday, the German government used the words “moved and touched” to describe its reaction to the shocking news regarding Pope Benedict’s resignation.
In a statement made by German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday morning, she said that she has the "utmost respect" for the Pope's decision.
A government spokesman first representing the German government said in a news conference:
The German government has the highest respect for the Holy Father, for what he has done, for his contributions over the course of his life to the Catholic church. He has been at the head of the Catholic Church for nearly eight years… Whatever the reasons for this decision, they must be respected.
Earlier, Pope Benedict, the 85-year-old German-born pontiff, said he doesn’t have the mental or the physical strength to cope with the task of being Pope. He said himself that he had noticed his strength had been deteriorating in recent months. Being the first person in Pope Benedict’s position to resign the position since the Middle Ages, the Pope’s announcement of stepping down is indeed a shock to the world.
The Pope, leading some 1.2 billion Catholics throughout the world, has been a controversial figure that has been considered a champion to conservatives and often challenged by liberal skeptics. Regardless of his challenges for his opinions and beliefs, those difficulties are reportedly not the reason for the resignation by Pope Benedict.
Pope Benedict’s resignation will be effective at the end of this month on Feb. 28. The Vatican is already reporting that the Pope's replacement will likely be elected by the end of March.