Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Last Testament

Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Last Testament

Article excerpt

LAST TESTAMENT by Pope Benedict XVI

with Peter Seewald (Bloomsbury Continuum, 2016)

When Pope Benedict XVI stunned the world in 2013 by announcing the first papal resignation in 600 years, speculation about his motivations ran wild.

The proximate cause of Benedict's resignation may have been more prosaic. In his new book, Last Testament, Benedict tells journalist Peter Seewald that in the wake of an exhausting trip to Mexico and Cuba in 2012, his physician had strongly advised him against flying long distances. With World Youth Day in Brazil scheduled for 2014, Benedict realized he was no longer up to the physical demands of the office.

Last Testament is the fourth book of published interviews between Benedict and Seewald. Much of it is familiar ground: the pope's childhood in Germany, his experiences during World War II, Vatican II, and his work as Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under St. …

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