Recalling the encouraging words of guidance and counsel given to him, President Mahinda Rajapaksa in a letter to Pope Benedict XVI said he was ‘surprised and saddened’ to learn of the resignation.
“I will always remember with great respect the encouraging words of guidance and counsel given to me at the audiences with Your Holiness that helped me in my tasks of governance, during the most trying times in my country,” the President stated.
Following is the full statement issued by the office of the Presidential Spokesman & International Media Adviser
February 22, 2013
President Rajapaksa Sends Message of Good Wishes to Pope Benedict XVI
President Mahinda Rajapaksa has sent a message expressing his gratitude and good wishes to Pope Benedict XVI, following the announcement of the Pope’s resignation.
“I join the prayers of the Catholics of Sri Lanka, and the good wishes of all other people of our country, for your good health and many more years of blessings,” President Rajapaksa said in the message that was delivered yesterday.
President Rajapaksa expressed his gratefulness to Pope Benedict for always being supportive of Sri Lanka.
“The Sri Lankan people will recall with immense gratitude your strong opposition to terrorism that threatened our State, as it continues to endanger other societies and nations too,” President Rajapaksa stated. “The Catholic community in Sri Lanka, both the clergy and laity, were strengthened and inspired by your words to support the cause of peace in our land and the unity of our people.”
Noting that he was “surprised and saddened” to learn of the resignation, President Rajapaksa expressed his personal gratefulness for Pope Benedict’s guidance.
“I will always remember with great respect the encouraging words of guidance and counsel given to me at the audiences with Your Holiness that helped me in my tasks of governance, during the most trying times in my country.”