BEIRUT: President Michel Sleiman hailed Pope Benedict XVI for his decision to retire from his post, a statement by the president’s press office said Tuesday.
“The courageous and wise decision of the pope to step down at such timing sets the right example for spiritual dignitaries on maintaining the strength of the [Christian] posts,” said Sleiman.
The 85-year-old Benedict told a group of cardinals in a speech in Latin Monday that he will step down on Feb. 28 because he could no longer fulfill his duties in a fast-changing world.
The pope is the first to resign in more than 700 years.
Sleiman compared the pope’s decision to that of former Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir who stepped down in 2011, also for age reasons.
The president also said that the Lebanese people will miss the pope and hoped the country remains in the pontiff’s heart.
The president also met with Belgian House of Representatives Speaker André Flahaut who arrived in Beirut Monday on an official visit expected to last several days.