Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Retired Pope Offers Final Reflections on Papacy, Francis

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Retired Pope Offers Final Reflections on Papacy, Francis

Article excerpt

VATICAN CITY * Retired Pope Benedict XVI has acknowledged that governing the church wasn't his strong suit but says he doesn't see his papacy as a failure and that he succeeded at least in breaking up the Vatican's so-called "gay lobby."

In a first-ever book by a retired pope reflecting on his papacy, Benedict also says he was shocked, and initially uncertain, about the election of Pope Francis as his successor. But he said he immediately realized the significance of electing a Latin American pope and has been very happy with Francis' papacy.

Excerpts of the book, titled "The Last Conversations," were published Thursday in Italian daily Corriere della Sera and German weekly Die Zeit and daily Bild.

The book was prepared as a long interview with German journalist Peter Seewald, who has conducted several interviews with Benedict from the time he was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

It is being published just weeks after a major biography of Benedict that included a foreword written by Francis was released, suggesting something of a lifetime bookend for the German theologian, who will turn 90 in April.

In the excerpts, Benedict acknowledges the "difficult moments" of his papacy the sex abuse scandal which reignited in 2010, the scandal over his exoneration of a Holocaust-denying bishop, and finally the leaks of his personal papers by his own butler.

"Practical governance is not a strong point, and this certainly is a weakness," Benedict told Seewald. …

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