BXVI’s Letter to Seewald: Why I had to resign the ministry


Commentary by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

On May 5 of this year, Andrea Cionci published the text of the alleged letter* of Pope Benedict XVI to Peter Seewald, his appointed biographer, regarding his motives for resigning the Petrine ministry. The letter lacks the final page with the signature and final salutation, so by no means is this letter to be taken as authentic. That it is authentic is based solely on the claim of Peter Seewald, as far as I know.

The letter, written as if from Pope Benedict XVI, says basically that since he fell and hit his head, during his trip to Cuba, in 2012, his doctors advised him to resign from the papacy, since they knew no other cure for the constant insomnia which he had suffered since his election.

The patent absurdity of such a letter is obvious.

First, because chronic insomnia, though constant, is no necessary reason to resign the ministry or renounce the papacy, as there exists in Canon Law the concept of delegated authority. Thus, a pope who can only manage a few hours of activity each day, can assign to others to act in his name during the other hours. He can also set his own schedule and decide to attend or not attend this or that event, or go on this or that trip.

Thus there is no possibility of a legal necessity or moral necessity to resign or abdicate.

However, if the letter is authentic many questions arise. Some of which are as follows:

First, what was contained on the last page? Why was this page not published?

Second, if the elderly Roman Pontiff has such a long-standing medical problem, why is it that none of his staff has intervened to convince him to find some scheduling solution, or find such medical experts world-wide capable of some remedy, from natural cures, such as Turkey Stew & Cabbage, to any sort of remedy based on expert medical observation and examinations and tests?

Third, even if the Holy Father did write this letter, in which he says once again, like at all other times, that he intended to renounce the ministry because he could no longer exercise the office, it only confirms that his intention to resign was not an intention to abdicate, and that, therefore, he remained the Roman Pontiff to full effect until Dec. 31, 2022.

Finally, the dating of this letter, just two months before his death, which death occurred just 2 weeks after the Vatican and the City of Rome pushed a 4th booster DeathVaxx campaign for elderly people in the environs of the Vatican, certainly causes one to suspect that this text was produced or extracted as some sort of part of a plot to silence him forever, just at the moment in history when belief in his remaining the pope was becoming wildly popular in Italy. 



*Benedict XVI Pope emeritus


To Mr. Peter SEEWALD



Vatican City 28 October 2022

Strictly confidential and personal (1)

Dear Mister Seewald!

I am happy to answer the question posed again in your letter of 17 October asking whether my resignation (Rücktritt) was a mistake. I can well understand, given my longevity and apparent sufficient health in recent years, that one wonders whether I may not have simply escaped from the cross to make it too easy for myself. To this I reply, that even when I think soberly and thoughtfully, I always arrive at the same result. I was no longer able to adequately exercise the office of representative of Jesus Christ on earth. (2)


The central reason was insomnia, which had accompanied me continuously since World Youth Day 2005 in Cologne. Initially, my doctor did not bother to use even strong means which initially guaranteed full functioning the next day. However, these reached their limits and were less and less able to guarantee functionality (3).


During my apostolic trip to Santiago in Cuba, in March 2012, I woke up the morning after the first night and, as usual, I used my handkerchief and realized that it was completely soaked in blood. I must have bumped into something in the bathroom and fallen (4).

Thanks be to God, among the team of doctors escorting me there was an extremely well-regarded surgeon who knew how to treat it so that it did not become noticeable.

But the problem persisted, (5) and my new personal doctor urged me to reduce the sleeping pills and also told me that on future trips I should only be active in the morning, while in the afternoon I should remain completely without external activities (6)

It was clear that further measures could only be applied for a short time (7). The next overseas event awaiting me was World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro (22-29 July 2013). It was clear that under these circumstances, I could no longer handle it, but that a new Pope would have to take on the task. 

This meant I had to resign before Easter 2013. (8)

The letter we were given ends here. It seems that half a sheet of paper is still missing, moreover, with the conclusion and signature. But enough of that, and on with our analysis.