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Former pope Benedict chose to quit after Mexico, Cuba visit

Resigned when doctors said no more travel across oceans

28 February, 18:50
Former pope Benedict chose to quit after Mexico, Cuba visit (ANSA) - Berlin, February 28 - Former pope Benedict XVI decided to resign from the papacy after a trip to Mexico and Cuba in March 2012 led his doctors to warn the German pontiff he could not make another trip across the ocean, his former Vatican secretary said in an interview published Friday.

Father Georg Gaenswein, interviewed by Süddeutsche Zeitung, a major German daily, said he was surprised but realized the doctor's advice was valid. "My spontaneous reaction was, 'No, Holy Father, you cannot do it'," Gaenswein said in the interview.

"But I said it without thinking, then it was immediately clear: he did not communicate anything to make a decision, but communicated a decision that was already made".

Gaenswein, who has been known in media circles as 'Gorgeous George' because of his good looks, continues to work with the retired Benedict.

Friday marked the first anniversary of the day that Benedict left the Vatican, making history as the first pope in modern times to resign the papacy.