Archbishop Gaenswein: Benedict XVI Has "No Regrets" About Stepping Down

Pope Emeritus is "At Peace With Himself" and Dedicated to Praying for Church, Pope Francis

Vatican City, (Zenit.org) | 1967 hits

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has no regrets about his resignation which he announced a year ago tomorrow, and he is at peace with himself.

This is according to his personal secretary, Archbishop Georg Gaenswein, in comments to Reuters over the weekend.

Benedict XVI is at peace with himself and I think he is even at peace with the Lord,” said the archbishop who also serves as prefect of the Pontifical Household under Pope Francis.

The Pope Emeritus was the first Pontiff to resign in 600 years, citing the strains of the papacy and frailty due to age. He stepped down on February 28.

Asked if he held resentment against critics who the Vatican says misunderstood him, Archbishop Gaenswein said: "No. It's clear that humanly speaking, many times, it is painful to see that what is written about someone does not correspond concretely to what was done. But the measure of one's work, of one's way of doing things, is not what the mass media write but what is just before God and before conscience."

"I am certain, indeed convinced, that history will offer a judgment that will be different than what one often read in the last years of his pontificate," Benedict’s personal secretary said in the telephone interview.

He added that the Pope Emeritus, by living, praying and studying in a former convent in the Vatican, “is far from the world but he is present in the Church.” 

“His mission now, as he once said, is to help the Church and his successor, Pope Francis, through prayer. This is his first and most important task," the archbishop said.

On his relationship with Pope Francis, he said: “From the very start there was good contact between them and this good beginning developed and matured. They write to each other, they telephone each other, they talk to each other, they extend invitations to each other.”

He added that Benedict spends his time studying, reading, handling correspondence, receiving visitors, playing the piano and praying while taking walks in the Vatican gardens.

"He is well but certainly he is a person who carries the weight of his years. So, he is a man who is physically old but his spirit is very vivacious and very clear," the German archbishop said.

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On the NET: 

Q&A with Archbishop Gaenswein