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Papal spokesman: close aides were not surprised by Pope Benedict's resignation

February 11, 2014

The Vatican officials who worked most closely with Pope Benedict XVI were not surprised by his resignation, Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office, said the anniversary of the stunning announcement.

Father Lombardi told a Vatican Radio audience that Pope Benedict made his decision to step down “with deep spirituality, great preparation.” The papal spokesman said that he considered the decision “a great act of government—that is, a decision taken freely, that truly affects the situation and the history of the Church.”

Now living in quiet seclusion, Pope-emeritus Benedict “gives the impression of great spiritual serenity,” Father Lombardi said. He said that the retired Pontiff continues to devote himself entirely to the Church, now exclusively by prayer. Father Lombardi said that concerns about having "two Popes" were misplaced, because the work of the Roman Pontiff is "a service, not a power."


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