A Look Back: Benedict XVI’s Life as Pope Emeritus| National Catholic Register

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

For a decade, Benedict prayed, wrote and made his final years of life an offering to God.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is shown in summer 2017.
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is shown in summer 2017. (photo: Paul Badde / EWTN)

Courtney Mares/CNAVaticanJanuary 9, 2023

Pope Benedict XVI spent the final decade of his life largely out of the public eye, living in retirement as pope emeritus in a monastery in Vatican City.

The retired pope, whose pontificate lasted from 2005 to 2013, was the first pope to resign in almost 600 years, shocking the world with a Latin-language announcement of his retirement on Feb. 11, 2013.

He was 85 years old at the time and cited his advanced age and lack of strength as reasons for the decision.

Before officially stepping down on Feb. 28, 2013, Benedict promised to live out his retirement “hidden” from the world.

“Even if I am withdrawing into prayer, I will always be close to all of you, and I am sure that you will be close to me, even if I remain hidden to the world,” he said on Feb. 14, 2013.

In his final words as pope, he said: “I’m simply a pilgrim who is beginning the last leg of his pilgrimage on Earth. … Let us go forward with the Lord for the good of the Church and the world.”

Having chosen for himself the title “pope emeritus,” on his last day as pope, he traveled by helicopter from Vatican City to the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo.

A few weeks later, on May 2, 2013, he moved to the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the gardens of Vatican City, where he lived until his death. The small four-story building was built in the early 1990s as a contemplative space for cloistered nuns inside the walls of Vatican City State.

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A Look Back: Benedict XVI’s Life as Pope Emeritus| National Catholic Register

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