A year after his shock resignation, Pope Benedict has no regrets and believes history will vindicate his tumultuous and much-criticised papacy.
Speaking to the Reuters news agency his top aid said: “Pope Benedict is at peace with himself and I think he is even at peace with the Lord,”.
Benedict announced his decision to resign, the first pope to do so in 600 years, on 11th February, 2013, citing the physical and psychological strains of the papacy. He stepped down on February 28 and Pope Francis was elected on March 13 as the first non-European pope in 1,300 years.
Archbishop Georg Ganswein has been at Benedict’s side since before his election in 2005, said the former pope had no regrets about leaving office and held no resentment against his critics who the Vatican says misunderstood him. The Archbishop works closely with both Popes, and says they’re great friends and interact very regularly.
Benedict, who now resides in a former convent in the Vatican gardens, said before he left office that he would live out his days “hidden from the world” in prayer and isolation. He has been photographed only four times since then.
“Indeed, he is far from the world but he is present in the Church. His mission now, as he once said, is to help the Church and his successor, Pope Francis, through prayer. This is his first and most important task,” Ganswein said.