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Benedict, pope emeritus: I am on a pilgrimage towards home

VATICAN CITY – Pope emeritus Benedict has sent a short letter to the editor of the Italian news daily Il Corriere della Sera recently.

The pope emeritus was responding to the many inquiries from readers as to how he is spending “this last period of his life.” Noting the “slow decline” of his “physical strength,” Benedict says in the letter that “interiorly, I am on a pilgrimage towards Home.” The former Roman Pontiff admits that “this last stretch of the road” is “at times difficult,” but says, “It is a great grace for me to be surrounded by a love and goodness that I could not have imagined.”

Concluding his letter, Benedict said he considers the concern of the readers for his well-being as an “accompaniment” for the journey. In closing, he expresses his gratitude, and assures everyone of his prayers.

The paper says it had contacted Benedict XVI through a “reserved channel” to ask him how he was doing.

The letter, marked “urgent by hand”, arrived at their Rome headquarters on Tuesday morning, 6 Feb 2018,  from “Monastero Mater Ecclesiae, V-120, Città del Vatican,” the retired pope’s residence.

This Sunday marks the fifth anniversary of Benedict XVI’s shock announcement that he intended to resign the papacy. His resignation took effect on 28 Feb 2013.

In 2013, Benedict XVI became the first pope since Gregory XII in 1415 to resign the papacy. In the announcement of his resignation, Benedict said he would continue to serve the Church “through a life dedicated to prayer.” Since May 2013, the pope emeritus has resided in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery within the borders of Vatican City State. – Vatican News, Catholic Herald

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