A final revelation, a few weeks before his death. On October 28, 2022, Benedict XVI sent a letter on October 28, a few weeks before his death, to his biographer, the German Peter Seewald.
In this missive, revealed by the weekly Focus, Joseph Ratzinger, who died at the age of 95 last December, explains that the “central reason” for his resignation in February 2013 was “the insomnia which had accompanied him continuously since the World Youth Days in Cologne” in August 2005, a few months after his election to succeed John Paul II.
His personal doctor had then prescribed him “powerful remedies” which initially enabled him to ensure his charge. But these sleeping pills would have over time, according to the letter of the Pope Emeritus, reached their “limits” and would have “been less and less able to guarantee” its availability.
This taking of sleeping pills would also have been the cause of an incident during a trip to Mexico and Cuba in March 2012.
Regular intake of sleeping pills
The morning after the first night, he reportedly found that his handkerchief was “totally soaked in blood,” according to the letter cited by Focus. “I must have bumped into something in the bathroom and fell,” writes the Pope emeritus.
A doctor was able to ensure that the injuries were not visible and a new personal practitioner is said to have insisted after this incident on prescribing a “reduction of sleeping pills” and advised the Pope to only appear in the morning on his trips to the foreigner.
The Pope Emeritus says in his letter that he is well aware that these medical restrictions “could only be tenable for a short period” and this observation led him to resign in February 2013, a few months before the WYD in Rio.