Vatican-Benedict XVI revealed in a letter to his biographer nine weeks before his death that he resigned because he suffered from insomnia

Benedict XVI in a file photo – ContactoPhoto

Benedict XVI reveals in a letter sent to his biographer, Peter Seewald, that he resigned from the pontificate in February 2013 because he suffered from insomnia, reports the German edition of ‘Focus’ magazine.

«The insomnia that has accompanied me uninterruptedly since World Youth Day in Cologne (in 2005),» the German pope says in the missive, dated Oct. 28, 2022, nine weeks before his death and now published.

«Benedict XVI did not want to make a scandal during his lifetime about the circumstances surrounding his resignation, which was justified by his exhaustion,» Seewald said in statements to the German radio station Katholische Kirche in Germany.

The journalist points out that the rumors of blackmail and pressures of some kind exerted for Benedict XVI to resign have not been extinguished and, therefore, he has felt obliged to publish «the decisive detail» that Benedict XVI confided to him.

«I hope this puts an end once and for all to conspiracy theories and erroneous speculation,» he said after confirming that the resignation was due to health reasons, «exactly as he expressed it in his resignation statement.»

Already in 2010, Benedict XVI had announced to Seewald in his book-interview ‘Light of the World’, «in unequivocal terms that he would make use of the option to resign as soon as his strength no longer allowed him to exercise the office of Peter».

Even after his death, speculation continues about the possible motives that moved Ratzinger to resign the pontificate. For example, the Pope Emeritus’ personal secretary, Georg Gänswein, who published in early January the book ‘Nothing but the truth. My life together with Benedict XVI’, revealed that it was his trip to the WYD in Madrid in 2011 that triggered the first reflections about the possibility of resigning the pontificate.

«It was precisely the question of personal participation in that WYD that triggered in him a reflection that became increasingly oppressive, about the continuation or not of his pontificate,» Gänswein assures in the book.

Thus, he specifies that during the meeting at Cuatro Vientos for the Vigil and the Mass he had the certainty that such a meeting «without the physical presence of the Pontiff would have been stupid».

The archbishop reveals that he tried to convince him otherwise by telling him that thanks to «the Internet connection it would be possible to be present constantly and in real time».

In any case, he clarifies that the decision to resign was final and irreversible during the apostolic trip to Mexico and Cuba, between March 23 and 29, 2012, especially after he tripped over a doormat while he was in the bathroom shaving, falling backwards and hitting his head on the shower ledge.