Pope thanks Benedict XVI for faithful witness in New Year's Day Angelus

Pope Francis delivers his New Year's Day Angelus.(Photo: Vatican News)

In his New Year's Day Angelus on Sunday, Pope Francis thanked God for his "faithful" predecessor Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who died on Saturday.

Benedict passed away on Saturday morning after his health took a turn for the worse in the last few days of 2022. He was 95. 

Addressing the crowds in St Peter's Square, Pope Francis asked the Catholic faithful to pray for Benedict. 

"Let us all join together, with one heart and one soul, in thanking God for the gift of this faithful servant of the Gospel and of the Church," he said. 

In his message, the Pope addressed global issues including war and instability.

He said the world was living through an epoch "polluted by diffidence and indifference".

He exhorted the faithful to take care of one another and live with "a spirit of responsibility and compassion" as an antidote to the crises and conflicts within society and the wider world. 

The Pope called for peace in Ukraine and other areas blighted by war and conflict. 

 "Throughout the entire world, from every people, the cry is rising: No to war! No to rearmament! May resources go toward development, health, food, education, employment," he said.