Pope Emeritus Benedict — who shocked Roman Catholics by resigning in February — is “relieved” he is no longer pontiff, his brother says.
“[He] still suffers the problems of the Church, but is really relieved to no longer have the weight of the Church on his shoulders,” Father Georg Ratzinger told London’s Daily Telegraph
Benedict, his brother added, is "very happy" to be living at Castel Gandolfo, the papal summer retreat located south of Rome.
The former Pope moved there after stepping down in February — the first Pope to resign in 600 years — with the church blaming “deterioration and weakness’’ due to age.
But Ratzinger insisted his brother, who had a pacemaker fitted 10 years ago, is not ill.
"He is now very old, he does not have any particular illness, but he is weakening due to his age," he said.
Church observers believe the enormous problems the church has faced in recent years may have contributed to Benedict’s resignation — a theory in line with Ratzinger’s comment about his brother being “relieved.’’
The Vatican bureaucracy continues to be embroiled in infighting and faces continued pressure over sex scandals involving priests around the world.
The church was also jolted by the betrayal by the pope's butler Paolo Gabriele, who was slapped with 18 months in prison for stealing thousands of Vatican documents, including Benedict’s private papers.
Benedict now spends his days in seclusion — praying, reading and playing the piano.
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