Ex-Pope Benedict Says He's Nearing the End of His Life

Former pope Benedict ready for final'pilgrimage

Former pope Benedict ready for final'pilgrimage

On Wednesday, an Italian newspaper published a letter from retired Pope Benedict which highlights the former Pope's reflection that he is in the last phase of life and now on a 'pilgrimage towards home'.

Benedict wrote a brief letter to Italian daily Corriere della Sera after readers inquired how he was doing.

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Benedict in February 2013 became the first pope in six centuries to resign, citing his poor health and the rigorous demands of papal travel.

His seven-year papacy was marked by mismanagement and controversy, including what many critics said was a failure to address sexual abuse within the Catholic church.

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The former pope, who will turn 91 in April, said he was moved that so numerous paper's readers wanted to know how this last period of his life was going. He added: "It is a great grace for me to be surrounded, on this rather tiring last piece of the road, by a love and goodness that I could not have imagined".

Since then, he has resided as pope emeritus in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery located inside Vatican City and close to where Pope Francis lives.

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The Pope emeritus writes a short letter to an Italian newspaper, thanking readers for their expressions of concern as the fifth anniversary of the announcement of his resignation approaches. Benedict has appeared frail and thin during his few public appearances over the last couple of years, although aides say he has lost none of his mental acuity.

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