Updated on 01/27/2023 at 12:24 pm
- A few weeks after Pope Benedict’s death, the reason for his resignation from the pontificate became public.
- In a letter to his biographer, Benedikt made it clear that an incident in 2012 was the deciding factor in his decision.
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who died on New Year’s Eve. According to a media report, he suffered from insomnia during his pontificate and had to take strong sleeping pills.
An incident on his apostolic trip to Mexico and Cuba in 2012 was the deciding factor in Benedict declaring his resignation in 2013, reports “Focus”. The magazine refers to a letter Benedikt wrote to his biographer Peter Seewald a few weeks before his death on October 28, 2022.
Benedikt letter: The reason for his resignation “was insomnia”
The letter literally states that the “central reason” for the resignation “was the insomnia that has accompanied me uninterruptedly since the World Youth Day in Cologne”. This happened in August 2005.
The “strong remedies” that his personal doctor at the time prescribed without hesitation initially worked and ensured his “availability” as pope.
According to “Focus”, Benedikt wrote to Seewald that the effect of the medication soon “reached its limits” and “less and less managed to guarantee” that he could fulfill his duties.
Pope Benedict XVI: travel accident in 2012 was a decisive factor in his resignation
After all, a serious incident occurred during his apostolic journey to Mexico and Cuba in March 2012. The morning after the first night, he took out his handkerchief. This one was “totally soaked in blood”.
“I must have bumped into something in the bathroom and fallen,” he quoted the “Focus” from the Pope Emeritus’ letter. A surgeon knew how to treat the matter “thank God” so that the wounds were not visible.
After that accident, his new personal physician pushed for a “reduction in sleeping pills” and insisted that Benedict should only appear in public on future trips abroad in the morning.
Benedict went on to say that it was clear to him that these medically justified restrictions “could only apply for a short period of time”. As the next big trip abroad, the World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro, would be in July 2013 and Benedict XVI knew he “couldn’t stand that date any longer”, he planned his resignation so soon that after Rio de Janeiro “new pope ” could travel.
Bento did not regret his resignation
According to “Focus”, Benedikt emphasized in the letter to Seewald that he would be making that decision again today (end of October 2022, when Benedikt wrote the letter, editor’s note) after “sober and thoughtful consideration”. At that time, he could no longer properly exercise the office of representative of Jesus Christ.
It has long been known that Benedict XVI had explained his historic step of resigning for health reasons and justified the timing with the upcoming World Youth Day. It was not previously known that the German pope suffered from severe sleep problems during his pontificate. (AFP/ank)