Former Catholic Pontiff, Pope Benedict has said that he is in the last phase of life and on a ‘pilgrimage towards home’ in a letter published on Wednesday in an Italian newspaper.
Benedict, who in February 2013 became the first pope in six centuries to resign, wrote a letter to the Corriere della Sera newspaper (in Italian) thanking readers for their best wishes as he approaches the fifth anniversary of stepping down.
‘I am moved that so many readers want to know how I spend my days in this, the last period of the life,’ he wrote. ‘I can only say that with the slow withering of my physical forces, interiorly, I am on a pilgrimage towards home.’
Since his resignation, Benedict, 90, has been living in a former convent in the Vatican gardens. The conservative German had an uneventful seven-year papacy was marked by mismanagement and financial scandals.
He has made only a handful of public appearances, mostly at major Church events but has received friends. Those close to him say he is still sharp mentally but has mobility problems and needs a walker to get around.
In July 2016 he revealed a ‘gay lobby’ in the Vatican tried to influence decisions during his papacy – but that no-one pressured him to resign.
His memoirs, called ‘Last Testament’ was published in November 2016 and were the first time in history that a former Pope judged his own pontificate after it had finished.