SINGAPORE: President Tony Tan Keng Yam and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong have written valedictory letters to Pope Benedict XVI, who is stepping down as the head of the Catholic Church.
In his letter dated 25 February, President Tan said people all over the world, including those in Singapore, will remember his tremendous contributions to the Catholic community.
He said Pope Benedict had devoted his life to shepherding Catholics around the world, and championing the causes of peace and development.
Through his teachings, the Pope has reinforced the Catholic faith and provided a beacon of inspiration and hope in the face of challenges from the modern world.
As a multi—religious and multi—racial society, Singapore deeply admires the Pope’s tireless efforts to promote inter—religious dialogue and harmony.
President Tan said his legacy will remain for generations to come.
Mr Lee also sent the Pope well wishes on behalf of the government and people of Singapore.
In a letter dated 28 February, Mr Lee said the ties between Singapore and the Holy See have strengthened under the Pope’s wise leadership.
Both have worked well together to advance equity and development, and promote peace and religious harmony.
Mr Lee said Pope Benedict’s decision to appoint an Apostolic Nuncio to Singapore in 2010 marked a significant milestone in bilateral relations, and "clearly signalled the Holy See’s desire to deepen its engagement with Singapore and Southeast Asia".
Mr Lee added that throughout his papacy, Pope Benedict worked tirelessly to extend the Catholic Church’s outreach to Catholics and non—Catholics, using traditional and new media platforms to disseminate his teachings.
He said the Pope dealt with the challenges during his tenure with leadership and resolve, and his decision to step down from the Apostolic Seat reflects his humility and grace.
Mr Lee said Pope Benedict’s love for the Church will continue to inspire many around the world.
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