President Obama expresses support for retiring pope
Warmly remembers meeting with pontiff in 200911 February, 19:01
"On behalf of Americans everywhere, Michelle and I wish to extend our appreciation and prayers to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI," Obama said in a written statement.
He added that he "warmly" remembers meeting with Pope Benedict in 2009, "and I have appreciated our work together over these last four years".
"The Church plays a critical role in the United States and the world, and I wish the best to those who will soon gather to choose His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI's successor," Obama added.
The pope's resignation takes effect on February 28.