He is not a Monk! Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI maintains active lifestyle in retirement
Benedict spends his days in prayer and offering spiritual advice
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in retirement maintains an attentive, prayerful lifestyle. Since he stepped down a year ago, Benedict is not "isolated or enclosed in a strict cloister," Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi told Vatican Radio. Benedict follows a daily schedule similar to that of any retired bishop, which is spent in prayer while offering the faithful spiritual advice.
Father Lombardi said the Pope and the retired pontiff have shown the world that there would be no irregularities with one pope at the helm of the church and another retired.
Archbishop Ganswein, who continues as Benedict's personal secretary while also serving Pope Francis as prefect of the papal household, summarized the retired Pope's day as filled "with prayer most of all, with study, with personal correspondence and visits.
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"The day begins with Mass, then with the breviary, followed by breakfast," he told the Catholic magazine Famiglia Cristiana. "The morning usually is dedicated to prayer and study, to the mail and to receiving guests."
Archbishop Ganswein and the consecrated laywomen who assist the retired Pope join him for lunch at 1.30 p.m., followed by a nap. Benedict XVI spends the afternoon dealing with his correspondence and listening to music until 4 p.m., when he and the archbishop recite the rosary while walking in the garden behind the former Vatican convent where he lives. They eat dinner at 7:30 p.m. and watch the evening news at 8 p.m.
Archbishop Ganswein said that Benedict had told him he was retiring long before the February 11 announcement, but under the strictest secrecy. "Instinctively, I said, 'No, Holy Father, it's not possible,' but I realized immediately that he wasn't communicating something he wanted to discuss, but a decision already made."
The "VatiLeaks" scandal, which saw the publication of confidential papal correspondence and internal Vatican documents, "did not cause or even influence the resignation.
"The Pope did not flee a responsibility, but was courageous" enough to realize he no longer had the strength to carry out the papal ministry, he said.
Archbishop Ganswein also confirmed that Pope Francis and Benedict speak frequently on the telephone.
"I was in the Sistine Chapel to greet the new Pope and promise him obedience," the archbishop said. "Immediately, Pope Francis asked me about Benedict XVI and said he wanted to call him. I dialed the number and handed him the telephone."
Father Lombardi said the Pope and the retired pontiff have shown the world that there would be no irregularities with one pope at the helm of the church and another retired. "The fact is that the papacy is a service and not a power," he said. Benedict "fulfilled his service before God and in good conscience passed the witness of this service to another."
Pope Francis calls for your 'prayer and action'...
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Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women: That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lordís invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.
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