Catholic leaders have paid tribute to Queen Elizabeth II following her death on September 8 and the end of a reign that lasted more than 70 years.
Pope Francis sent a telegram addressed To His Majesty the King, Charles III which read: ‘I willingly join all who mourn her loss in praying for the late Queen’s eternal rest and in paying tribute to her life of unstinting service to the good of the nation and the Commonwealth, her example of devotion to duty, her steadfast witness of faith in Jesus Christ and her firm hope in his promises.’
Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster, president of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, paid tribute using many of the Queen’s own words.
‘On 21 April 1947, on her 21st birthday, Princess Elizabeth said, “I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service,”’ Cardinal Nichols said. ‘Now, 75 years later, we are heartbroken in our loss at her death and so full of admiration for the unfailing way in which she fulfilled that declaration.
‘Even in my sorrow, shared with so many around the world, I am filled with an immense sense of gratitude for the gift to the world that has been the life of Queen Elizabeth II,’ he said. ‘At this time, we pray for the repose of the soul of Her Majesty. We do so with confidence, because the Christian faith marked every day of her life and activity.’
Bishop Hugh Gilbert, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, praised Queen Elizabeth for her life of ‘outstanding and dedicated public service.’
During her reign, Queen Elizabeth met with four popes — Francis, Benedict, John Paul II and John XXIII, and as princess she met Pope Pius XII.