Benedict XVI starts new life with TV and snooze

Agence France-Presse

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Benedict XVI began his life of retirement by watching a bit of TV, getting a good night's sleep and reciting the rosary a day after his resignation

LAST APPEARANCE. Benedict XVI greets the public before retiring to a life of monasticism. Photo from AFP

VATICAN CITY – Benedict XVI began his life of retirement by watching a bit of television, getting a good night’s sleep and reciting the rosary, the Vatican said Friday, March 1, a day after his resignation.

After bidding the faithful a final emotional farewell on Thursday, the pope had dinner and then watched television news broadcasts about his departure.

“He really appreciated the coverage,” spokesman Federico Lombardi said, adding: “A pope can also appreciate good media work in his heart”.

Afterwards, the pope emeritus paced up and down a long reception room, the Hall of the Swiss, overlooking Albano Lake in his new temporary residence of Castel Gandolfo near Rome in the final moments of his eight-year pontificate.

“He then retired for prayer and rest,” said Lombardi, who still referred to the ex-pontiff as “pope” on the first day of a popeless interim for the Catholic Church ahead of a conclave this month to elect a successor.

Lombardi said the pope had brought a few books with him on theological and historical themes including one titled “Hans Urs von Balthasar’s Theological Aesthetics: A Model for Post-Critical Biblical Interpretation”.

The Vatican spokesman also revealed that Benedict — an accomplished pianist — has been playing the piano more frequently in the run-up to the resignation although the piano remained silent on the night of his departure.

“The pope slept really well. This morning he celebrated mass,” Lombardi said, adding that later in the day Benedict would probably have lunch and recite the rosary on a quiet walk in the gardens of Castel Gandolfo palace. –

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