Says he is surrounded “by such love and kindness as I could never have imagined”
The letter, sent “urgent, by hand” and signed by the Pope Emeritus, is dated February 5, 2018, and was sent from the “Mater Ecclesiae Monastery, V-120, Vatican City,” where Benedict XVI lives a retired life of prayer. It was addressed to Massimo Franco, editor and journalist at the Italian newspaper Il Corriere della Sera.
Here is the content:
Dear Dr. Franco, I am moved that so many readers of your paper want to know how I am spending this last period of my life. In this regard, I can only say that, as my physical strength slowly wanes, interiorly I am on a pilgrimage towards Home. It is a great blessing for me to be surrounded, on this last stretch of the way, which sometimes is a bit exhausting, by such love and kindness as I could never have imagined. Along these lines, I also consider your readers’ request as a form of accompaniment along a stretch of the road. That’s why I cannot but thank them, and assure you all of my prayers. Heartfelt greetings,
Pope Benedict renounced the Throne of Peter five years ago this February. Prayer, silence, classical music, and study fill the Pope Emeritus’ days; in April, he will blow out 91 candles.
The German pope is discreet, and he has only given news of himself on a few occasions. The last couple of times that he has spoken, he has done so through his book-interviews, published in 2016: “Last testament” (“Ultimi conversazioni”), by journalist Peter Sewald, and a biography, “Servitore di Dio e dell’umanità” (Servant of God and of humanity), by Italian writer Elio Guerriero, which is not yet in English.
Official news reports confirm that Benedict XVI is in stable health, and there are no special concerns, beyond the natural health issues due to aging.