World leaders moved and shocked by Pope's resignation
Cameron wishes the pope well and thanks his 'tireless work'11 February, 17:22
(ANSA) - Milan, February 11 - Religious leaders and heads of state paid homage to Benedict XVI on Monday after the Pope's shock announcement that he would resign at the end of the month due to age and lack of energy for the job.
Chief Imam for the Sunni muslims, Ahmad el Tayyeb, expressed "shock" at the news from the margins of a closed door meeting in Cairo to elect a new grand Mufti of Egypt.
Chief rabbi for Israel, Yona Metzger, credited Pope Ratzinger for forging "the best relations between the Rabbinate and the Catholic Church" and wished the pope good health and a long life.
"He must be given credit for having done a great deal for inter-religious ties in the world between Christianity, Judaism and Islam," Metzger added.
"It is moving news," said German Chancellor Angela Merkel, commenting on the German pope's decision, and a choice that elicits "my greatest respect".
Cardinal Keith O'Brien, head of the Scottish Catholic church, said he was "shocked" and "heartbroken" by the news, and sent a message throughout the Scottish parishes to pray for Joseph Ratzinger in his moment of difficulty.
French president Francois Holland called the pope's decision "highly respectable" and a "human decision".
British Prime Minister David Cameron wished the pope well and gave him credit for tireless work to reinforce ties between Britain and the Catholic Church.
Photo: Pope Benedict XVI with German Chancellor Angela Merkel