On the second day of a 32-hour pilgrimage to Switzerland, John Paul learned of Reagan's death with "sadness" and immediately prayed for the "eternal rest of his soul," said the Director of the Vatican Press Office, Joaquin Navarro-Valls.
Navarro-Valls' statement said John Paul recalled Reagan's contribution to "historical events that changed the lives of millions of people, mainly Europeans." The statement also praised Reagan's contributions to his own country.
Last Friday, during his meeting with President George W. Bush, the Pontiff recalled that it was Reagan who established diplomatic ties with the Vatican in 1984. "These relations have promoted mutual understanding on great issues of common interest and practical cooperation in different areas. I send my regards to President Reagan and to Mrs. Reagan, who is so attentive to him in his illness," said the Pope.