BERLIN Feb 11 The German government said it was
"moved and touched" by the surprise resignation of German-born
Pope Benedict on Monday.
"As a Christian and as a Catholic, one can't help but be
moved and touched by this," government spokesman Steffen Seibert
said at a regular government 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. He has left
a very personal signature as a thinker at the head of the
Church, and also as a shepherd. Whatever the reasons for this
decision, they must be respected," Seibert added.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is to make a statement on
the matter at 2.30 p.m. (1330 GMT).