‘Pope said his strength was fading last August’
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Pope Benedict XVI said last August that his strength was diminishing and "not much more'' could be expected from him as pontiff, according to a German journalist who interviewed him for a 2010 book in which Benedict said popes should in some circumstances consider resigning.
Journalist Peter Seewald recalled in an article for German weekly Focus published Saturday asking Benedict during a meeting last August at the pontiff's summer residence, Castel Gandolfo, what more could be expected of him and his papacy. Seewald said Benedict replied: "From me? From me, not much more. I am an old man and my strength is running out. And I think what I have done is enough.''
Asked whether he was considering resignation, Seewald said that Benedict responded: "That depends to what extent my physical strength will compel me to.''
Benedict announced on Monday that he would resign February 28, making him the first pope to step down in nearly 600 years.
The announcement stunned the world, but the pope had laid the groundwork for a possible resignation when Seewald interviewed him for his 2010 book, "Light of the World.''
"If a pope clearly realises that he is no longer physically, psychologically and spiritually capable of handling the duties of his office, then he has a right, and under some circumstances, also an obligation to resign,'' the book quoted Benedict as saying.
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