Benedict Hopes to Reach the Afterlife 'Soon'

So writes retired pope in a letter following the death of a close friend
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 20, 2021 12:05 PM CDT
Benedict Hopes to Reach the Afterlife 'Soon'
In this Nov. 28, 2020, file photo, Pope Francis hold hands with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI as he pays him a visit at the Vatican.   (Vatican Media via AP)

Retired Pope Benedict XVI has said he hopes to soon join a beloved professor friend in "the afterlife," in a sign that the 94-year-old pontiff is not only accepting his eventual death but welcoming it. Benedict penned an Oct. 2 letter to a German priest, thanking him for letting him know of the passing of the Rev. Gerhard Winkler, a Cistercian priest and academic colleague of the former Joseph Ratzinger. "Of all my colleagues and friends he was the closest to me," Benedict wrote, according to the letter reproduced in German media. "The news of the passing ... has affected me deeply," he added, per the National Catholic Register, which notes the two men worked together for several years at the University of Regensburg.

"Now he has reached the afterlife, where many friends certainly await him," Benedict wrote. "I hope I can join them soon." Benedict became the first pope in 600 years to resign when he renounced the papacy in 2013, saying he didn't have the strength of body and mind to guide the Catholic Church. Throughout the papacy of Pope Francis, Benedict has lived in a converted monastery in the Vatican gardens, occasionally greeting visitors and writing, but by and large keeping to his vow to live "hidden to the world," reports the AP.

(More Pope Benedict XVI stories.)

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