Benedict XVI : Insomnia probably reason for resignation

Status: 01/27/2023 12:03 p.m

The late Pope Benedict justified his resignation in 2013 with health problems. What they looked like exactly was not known until now. Now a report suggests that Benedict XVI. suffered from insomnia.

The late Pope Benedict XVI. suffered from insomnia during his pontificate and took strong sleeping pills. His biographer Peter Seewald confirmed a corresponding report by the magazine “Focus” to the Catholic news agency KNA.

A bloody incident during his trip to Mexico and Cuba in 2012 led to Benedikt resigning in 2013, writes Focus magazine, citing a letter Benedikt wrote to Seewald on October 28, 2022.

Insomnia as a possible reason for withdrawal

The letter states literally that the “central motive” for the resignation “was the insomnia that has accompanied me uninterruptedly since World Youth Day in Cologne”. World Youth Day in Cologne took place in August 2005.

The “strong remedies” that his personal physician at the time prescribed without hesitation worked initially and guaranteed his “availability” as pope. According to “Focus”, Benedikt wrote to Seewald that the drugs had soon “reached their limits” and were “less and less able to ensure” its availability.

Incident 2012 was probably the decisive trigger

After all, a serious incident occurred on his trip to Mexico and Cuba in March 2012. The morning after the first night he grabbed his handkerchief. This was “totally soaked with blood”. “I must have bumped into something in the bathroom and fell,” quoted the “Focus” from the letter from the Pope Emeritus.

A surgeon knew how to treat the matter “thank God” in such a way that the injuries were not visible. After this accident, his new personal doctor pushed for a “reduction in sleeping pills” and insisted that Benedict should only appear in public on future trips abroad in the mornings.

Medical limitations to major disability

Benedict went on to say that it was clear to him that these medically justified restrictions “could only apply for a short time”. Because the next major trip abroad, World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro, was to take place in July 2013 and Benedict knew that he would no longer be able to “manage” this date, he planned his resignation so early that after Rio a “new pope” would be able to travel.

According to the letter, Benedikt did not regret the decision

According to “Focus”, Benedikt emphasized in the letter to Seewald that he would come to this decision again today after “sober and thoughtful consideration”. At that time he was no longer able to adequately exercise the office of the representative of Jesus Christ.

Seewald: Benedikt didn’t want to cause a stir

It has been known for a long time that Benedict explained his historic step of resignation with health reasons and justified the timing with the upcoming World Youth Day. So far, however, the German Pope has not had any serious sleep problems during the pontificate.

Benedict’s biographer Seewald explained that the pope emeritus did not want to make a fuss during his lifetime about the circumstances of his resignation, which was justified by his exhaustion. Unfortunately, even after Benedikt’s death, speculation continued about possible other reasons for the step. “Rumours of blackmail and any kind of pressure that was put on him do not go away,” Seewald said. It is also further suspected that the “Vatileaks” affair was the real reason.

He therefore felt obliged to “publish the crucial detail entrusted to me from the medical history of the German Pope,” said Seewald. “I hope that this will finally put an end to the conspiracy theories and crazy speculations.”

Benedict XVI died on December 31st at the age of 95. Benedict was buried in the Vatican Grottoes under St. Peter’s Basilica.

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