Insomnia, “central reason” for the resignation of Benedict XVI in 2013

The Pope emeritus would have made this confession in a letter addressed a few weeks before his death to his biographer, and revealed by the German weekly “Focus”.

The insomnia from which he suffered Pope Benedict XVI constituted the “central pattern” of his resignation in 2013, he revealed in a letter sent a few weeks before his death to his biographer and unveiled Friday by a German weekly.

The Pope Emeritus sent a letter on October 28, a few weeks before his death, to his biographer, the German Peter Seewald. In this letter, revealed by the weekly FocusJoseph Ratzinger, who died aged 95 last December, explains that the “central pattern” of his resignation in February 2013 was “the insomnia that (I)‘accompanied without interruption since the World Youth Days in Cologne’ in August 2005, a few months after his election to succeed John Paul II.

A handkerchief “totally soaked in blood”

His personal doctor then prescribed him “Powerful Remedies” which initially enabled him to carry out his duties. But these sleeping pills would have over time, according to the letter of the Pope emeritus, reached their “limits” and would have “less and less able to guarantee” its availability.

This taking of sleeping pills would also have been the cause of an incident during a trip to Mexico and Cuba in March 2012. The morning after the first night, he would have noticed that his handkerchief was “totally soaked in blood”according to the letter quoted by Focus. “I must have bumped into something in the bathroom and fell”, writes the Pope emeritus. A doctor was able to ensure that the injuries were not visible and a new personal practitioner is said to have insisted after this incident on prescribing a “reduction of sleeping pills” and advised the Pope to only appear in the morning on his trips to the foreigner.

“More tenable”

The Pope Emeritus says in his letter that he is well aware that these medical restrictions “could only be tenable for a short time” and this observation led him to resign in February 2013, a few months before WYD in Rio which he felt he could not “overcome”. He thus resigned early enough for his successor, Pope Francis, to honor this visit to Brazil.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, whose resignation in 2013 took the whole world by surprise, died on December 31 in the monastery in the Vatican gardens where he had retired. His pontificate was marked by multiple crises, like the Vatileaks scandal in 2012, which exposed a vast network of corruption in the Vatican, or cases of pedocrime involving clerics.

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