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Francis hails Benedict XVI as a ‘great pope’ as he unveils sculpture

Benedict XVI greets Pope Francis at the Vatican in September (AP)

Pope Francis has praised Benedict XVI as a “great pope” as he unveiled a new sculpture of him.

The Pontiff made the comment as he unveiled a bronze bust of the retired pope at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences this morning.

He said: “Benedict XVI [was] a great pope: great for the power and penetration of his intellect, great for his significant contribution to theology, great for his love for the Church and of human beings, great for his virtue and piety.”