Retired pope says he hopes to soon join friends in ‘the afterlife’

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Pope Benedict XVI has said that he hopes to join his friends in “the afterlife” soon.

The retired pope made the comment welcoming his eventual death in a letter penned to a German priest earlier this month. In the letter, recreated by German media, Benedict expressed his thanks for being notified of the death of his dear friend the Rev. Gerhard Winkler, The Associated Press reported.

“Of all my colleagues and friends he was the closest to me,” Benedict’s letter reportedly said. “Now he has reached the afterlife, where many friends certainly await him. I hope I can join them soon.”

Winkler was a Cistercian priest and Benedict’s former colleague, the news outlet noted.

Benedict in 2013 made the decision to voluntarily limit his own term, a move that made him the first pope in 600 years to resign.

“After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry,” Benedict said at the time.

When Pope Francis took over the role, Benedict resigned to a converted monastery in the Vatican gardens. On occasion, he will write or greet visitors, but he reportedly has lived out most of his retirement “hidden to the world,” according to AP.

Tags Pope Benedict XVI Pope Francis Popes
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