Mercoledì, 19 Settembre 2018
VATICAN CITY

Benedict 'reflects, prays' in first day of retirement

English
© ANSA

Vatican City, March 1 - Benedict XVI slept well
during his first night as a former pope, Vatican spokesman
Father Federico Lombardi said on Friday.
"I had a nice telephone conversation with (Benedict's
personal secretary Georg) Gaenswein, who was very relaxed, and
he said that both he and the Holy Father slept very well,"
Lombardi told reporters.
Benedict's time as pontiff ended at 20:00 Italian time on
Thursday after he shocked the world earlier last month by saying
he was stepping down because he did not have the mental and
physical strength to continue leading the Catholic Church.
He left the Vatican just after 17:00 and flew by helicopter
to the papal summer retreat in Castel Gandolfo outside of Rome.
He will stay at Castel Gandolfo for two months, after which
he will go to live at a monastery inside the Vatican that is
currently being renovated.
In his first full day as pope emeritus, Benedict spent his
time in prayer and reflection, spokesman Lombardi said.
"He will spend today between prayer and reflection and he
will see the messages that he has received," Lombardi told
reporters after speaking on the telephone to Benedict's personal
secretary Georg Gaenswein.
"In the afternoon he may have his usual walk in the gardens
to pray the rosary".
Lombardi also commented on Benedict's physical state.
He is elderly but "in good health," Lombardi told the press
on Friday.
"Over the last few years we have seen him a little older,
tired, stooped and sometimes with a cane, but that was for his
safety and support," Lombardy said.
Benedict, the first pope to stand down since Gregory XII in
1415, clocked up over three million followers on his Twitter
account when before stepping down.
His final tweet, sent out at 17:00 local time Thursday, was
in English, Spanish and Italian.
Launched on December 12, the Twitter handle @Pontifex has
now fallen silent pending the election of a successor at a
conclave scheduled probably for the second week of March.
But the Vatican said Friday that a meeting of the
congregation of cardinals on Monday will most likely not produce
a date for the conclave.
"You shouldn't expect a decision Monday, the meeting's
first day," said Lombardi.
Cardinals will come together at 09:30 Italian time (08:30
GMT) at the general congregation before the conclave, which is
not expected to start before March 8.

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