Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation in 2013 was largely due to chronic insomnia, according to papal biographer Peter Seewald.

In his last letter to Seewald dated Oct 28, 2022, Benedict wrote that insomnia was the “central motive” behind his resignation. The pontiff had been struggling with insomnia since 2005 World Youth Day in Cologne, shortly after his election as pope.

Benedict served for nearly 8 more years before announcing his resignation in February 2013, citing his waning strength.

Seewald revealed that Benedict did not want to “make a fuss” about the circumstances of his resignation during his lifetime.

The biographer confirmed that the pontiff had used strong sleeping pills and had an incident in March 2012 during a trip to Mexico and Cuba where he woke up to find a blood-soaked handkerchief. Following this, Benedict’s personal physician advised him to reduce his sleeping pill intake and to only attend public appointments in the morning when traveling abroad.

Benedict concluded that he should make way for a new pope who would be able to attend the 2013 World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro.

Pray for Pope Benedict XVI!


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