VILNIUS – Former Pope Benedict XVI, who died on Saturday, wanted Christianity to play an important unifying role in today's overly consumerist and divided world, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda has said.
"We have lost a clergyman whose teachings have always placed the world and the person at the center of today's world," Nauseda said in his message of condolence published by his office.
"In thinking about this, Benedict XVI drew on the great sages of Christianity and wanted Christianity to play an important unifying role in our over-consumerist, divided world," he said.
Those who knew or met Benedict XVI, who was born Joseph Alois Ratzinger, will remember him not only as a clergyman, but also as a brilliant scholar and theologian, and a professor loved by students, and an active participant in discussions about faith and religion, according to the president.
Ratzinger's Introduction to Christianity, published in 1968, won worldwide acclaim and was clandestinely distributed in Soviet-era Lithuania, Nauseda noted.
"Whole generations of Lithuanian Christians grew up reading this book," he said.
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who in 2013 was the first pope since the Middle Ages to resign as head of the Catholic Church, passed away at the age of 95 on Saturday, the Vatican has said.