It is not just a resignation from office, but a retreat from the public: Pope Benedict XVI. wants to live isolated in the future and hide from the world. The 85-year-old said when meeting with Roman priests.
The people celebrated the Pope at the Ash Wednesday Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, as it was their last opportunity to pay public tribute to him. You could be right, it might have been one of his last appearances in public. In an meeting with the priests of the Diocese of Rome, where he serves as bishop, he said: “Even though I will retire in prayer, I will be close to you all, and you will be close to me – even if I will hide from this world.
Benedict VXI. had previously been welcomed with warm applause by the Roman priests in the Vatican audience hall. “Thank you, thank you for your affection, for the great love for the Pope,” he said. The conversation with the clergy took about an hour. The head of the church wanted to respond to questions from the parishes of his diocese. The date for the meeting was fixed quite some time ago and had nothing to do with the announced resignation of Benedict on Monday.
Life in the monastery
The Italian newspaper “La Stampa” reported, however, the Pope is said to have come to a final decision to resign during a trip to Mexico and Cuba.
On February 28 Benedict will resign his office. He will fly to the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, just 30 miles from Rome, on that Thursday at 5:00 p.m. in a helicopter. There he will spend the first few weeks after the end of his pontificate, before he moving to a monastery on the site of the Vatican. The pontificate ends at 8:00 p.m. local time.
It is still unclear how Benedict will be called for his resignation: Emeritus Bishop of Rome, former pope, Cardinal Ratzinger? “The Vatican is thinking seriously about that matter,” said Lombardi.