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They released a letter in which Benedict XVI revealed the “central reason” for his resignation

Joseph Ratzinger resigned from his papacy in 2013 and was replaced by Jorge Bergoglio, who became Pope Francis.

The Pope emeritus Benedict XVIwho died on the last day of 2022 at the age of 95, left a spiritual testament in which he asked for “heartfelt forgiveness” from those he may have harmed in his life, but now the “main reason” for his resignation in 2013 has been revealed, that gave the cardinal the possibility Jorge Bergoglio to become Pope Francis.

As revealed by a German weekly, in a letter that Benedict XVI addressed weeks before his death to his biographer, the German Peter Seewald, he says that insomnia was the “central reason” for his resignation in 2013.

The letter sent on October 28 was revealed by the weekly Focus. In the text, Joseph Ratzinger explains that “the main reason” for his resignation as head of the Catholic Church in February 2013 was “the insomnia that [lo] accompanied without interruption since the World Youth Days in Cologne”in August 2005, months after succeeding John Paul II.

In April 2015, the German Joseph Ratzinger became the new Pope Benedict XVI, replacing John Paul II. Photo: Thomas Coex/AFP

His personal doctor then prescribed “potent remedies”, which at first allowed him to keep up with his workload. But according to the emeritus pope, sleeping pills eventually reached their “limits.”

Taking sleeping pills would also have caused an incident during a trip to Mexico and Cuba in March 2012. The morning after the first night, Benedict XVI confirmed that his handkerchief was “completely drenched in blood“, according to the letter cited by Focus. “I must have hit myself somewhere in the bathroom, and I fell,” writes the pontiff.

The doctor made the wounds invisible, and a new personal doctor insisted after the incident that the German pope’s sleeping pills be reduced. Likewise, he advised her to only be seen in the morning during her trips abroad.

Insomnia, the main reason for the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI.  Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP

Insomnia, the main reason for the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP

In the letter, Ratzinger says he is aware that these medical restrictions “were only sustainable for a short period of time.” This confirmation led him to announce his resignation in February 2013, months before the World Youth Days in Rio de Janeiro, which he did not see himself as capable of “facing”.

In this way, he resigned early enough so that his successor, Pope Francis, could comply with the visit to Brazil. Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, who surprised the world with his resignation, died in the monastery in the Vatican gardens where he lived in retirement.

His pontificate was marked by numerous crises, such as the Vatileaks scandal in 2012, which exposed a wide network of corruption in the Vatican, or cases of sexual abuse of minors committed by religious in various countries around the world.

The “spiritual testament” of Benedict XVI

“To all those whom I have harmed in any way, I sincerely apologize,” reads the document, entitled “My spiritual testament” and published by the Holy See, in German and Italian, after the death of Benedict XVI.

“First of all I thank God himself, dispenser of every good gift, who has given me life and guided me through various moments of confusion, picking me up every time I began to slip, always giving me the light of his face anew.” wrote.

He also thanked his parents who gave him life “in a difficult time” in Germany between the wars in 1927, when the country was heading towards Nazism, and his siblings, Maria and Georg.

In addition, he expressed his gratitude to “the many friends, men and women” who accompanied him throughout his life and to the teachers and students he had, as well as to his country, Germany, and his native Bavaria, where, he said, always he saw “the splendor of the Creator appear”.

In fact, he addresses the German people directly: “I pray that our land continues to be of faith and I ask you, dear compatriots: do not let yourself be diverted from the faith.”

With information from agencies


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