Obama expresses appreciation to Pope Benedict

This article appears in the Benedict Resigns feature series. View the full series.

U.S. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are extending "appreciation and prayers" to Pope Benedict after news of his pending resignation.

"On behalf of Americans everywhere, Michelle and I wish to extend our appreciation and prayers to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI," President Obama said in a statement.

"Michelle and I warmly remember our meeting with the Holy Father in 2009, and I have appreciated our work together over these last four years.  The Church plays a critical role in the United States and the world, and I wish the best to those who will soon gather to choose His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI’s successor."

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