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Insomnia cause for resignation of Benedict XVI?

January 27, 2023

» Continue to this story on AFP

CWN Editor's Note: The resignation of Pope Benedict XVI may have been prompted by severe insomnia that left the Pope unable to work, according to a letter made public recently.

In an October 2022 letter to Peter Seewald, with whom he had collaborated on several book-length interviews, the retired Pontiff explained that doctors had prescribed sleeping pills for him, but the medications had “reached their limits,” and doctors said they would help only “for a short time.”

The former Pope revealed that his condition was responsible for a fall that he suffered during his return trip to Rome after a visit to Mexico and Cuba in March 2012. Doctors then insisted that he cut back on his work schedule.

Pope-emeritus Benedict wrote to Seewald that the medication was necessary to combat “constant” insomnia that he suffered during his pontificate.

The letter from the retired Pope was made public by Focus, a German news magazine.

The above note supplements, highlights, or corrects details in the original source (link above). About CWN news coverage.


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  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Jan. 28, 2023 11:48 AM ET USA

    I am no psychologist, but it seems to me that Benedict XVI's insomnia was most likely caused by two devastating conditions: one internal and the other external. The internal condition was psychological stress caused by crises, major life events, microstressors, and ambient stressors. Jeff cited some examples of the external conditions in today's companion article titled " The Next Pope's Dilemma". Jeff's concrete examples, and many others discussed in this forum, have led me to this conclusion.