Pope emeritus announces ‘pilgrimage home,’ cites declining health

Nearly five years after he became the first pontiff in centuries to resign, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI announced he has come to the “end of a slow decline in physical strength.”

The 90-year-old retired pope, who has lived on the Vatican gardens in a former convent since he stepped down in 2013, has not lost his mental acuity, according to those close to him. He does, however, need assistance walking, according to Fox News.

At this final stage of his life, Benedict wrote a letter to his supporters that he is “inwardly” on his “pilgrimage home.”

He expressed appreciation for those who have continued to express concern about him in his unusual retirement.

“Because of this, I cannot but be thankful, on my part assuring you all of my prayers,” he concluded. “Best regards.”

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