07 February 2018
Benedict XVI says he is on 'pilgrimage Home'
'I can only say that at the end of a slow decline in physical strength, inwardly I am on a pilgrimage Home'
Benedict XVI says he is in the final stages of his life, describing himself as on a “pilgrimage Home” surrounded by a “love and goodness” he had never imagined.
The retired Pope, 90, made the remarks in a nine line letter to the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, who had presented him with letters from readers asking about his well-being.
“I can only say that at the end of a slow decline in physical strength, inwardly I am on a pilgrimage Home,” he wrote in a letter to journalist Massimo Franco, who had relayed the readers’ concerns. In the letter he capitalised the word "Casa", meaning "home". “It is a great grace for me to be surrounded in this final phase of my life, which is a little tiring, by a love and goodness which I could not have imagined,” the Pope Emeritus wrote.
On 11 February 2013 Benedict made the surprise announcement that he was stepping down from the Chair of St Peter, becoming the first Pope to resign the papacy in almost 600 years.
Since the election of Pope Francis, he retreated from public view and has lived in a converted monastery in the grounds of the Vatican gardens. He has, however, continued to receive visitors including a delegation from his Bavarian homeland who came to celebrate his 90th birthday.
In the letter, Benedict expressed his thanks to the newspaper’s readers for their “accompaniment” on this final phase of his life, and assured them all of his prayers.
PICTURE: Retired Pope Benedict XVI is seen with Pope Francis in this 2015 file photo. (CNS photo/Maurizio Brambatti)
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