Benedict XVI said that he abdicated because of insomnia

 By Fr. John Zuhlsdorf:

From personal experience, I can confirm that insomnia is a terrible affliction.


The insomnia suffered by Pope Benedict XVI was the “central reason” for his resignation in 2013: he revealed it himself in a letter sent a few weeks before his death to his biographer and released today 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 document, revealed by the weekly Focus, Joseph Ratzinger, who passed away at the age of 95 on 31 December, explains that the “central reason” for his resignation in February 2013 was “the insomnia that had from the World Youth Days in Cologne” in August 2005, a few months after his election as successor of John Paul II.

His personal physician had then prescribed “powerful remedies” which had initially enabled him to carry out his role.

But these sleeping pills would have reached their “limits” over time, according to the letter of the Pope Emeritus, and would have been “less and less able to guarantee” their usefulness.

This sleeping pill intake was also allegedly the cause of an accident while traveling to Mexico and Cuba in March 2012. The morning after the first night, he allegedly discovered that his handkerchief was “totally soaked in blood,” according to the letter cited 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 wounds were not visible and a new personal physician is said to have insisted after this incident on prescribing a “sleeping pill reduction” and advised the Pope to only appear in the morning on his trips to the abroad.

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

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1 Response to Benedict XVI said that he abdicated because of insomnia

  1. This has been faithfully reported as told but something is not right here. Firstly, why wait til now to say this (if indeed the letter was his) and secondly, what other evidence corroborates this? If real, was someone causing the problem to poor Pope Benedict and then offering pill solutions? I feel very uncomfortable about this story; all is not as it seems. Ganswein would surely know?


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