‘Lord, I love you’: Aide recounts Benedict’s last words

Dec 31, 2022, 11:59 AM | Updated: Jan 1, 2023, 10:13 am
A view of the St. Peter's Basilica at The Vatican and Rome's skyline, Sunday, Jan.1, 2023. Pope Eme...

A view of the St. Peter's Basilica at The Vatican and Rome's skyline, Sunday, Jan.1, 2023. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the German theologian who will be remembered as the first pope in 600 years to resign, has died, the Vatican announced SaturdayDec. 1, 2022. He was 95. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

(AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

              A view of the St. Peter's Basilica at The Vatican and Rome's skyline, Sunday, Jan.1, 2023. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the German theologian who will be remembered as the first pope in 600 years to resign, has died, the Vatican announced SaturdayDec. 1, 2022. He was 95. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
            
              St. Peter's Basilica is reflected in a ball adorning St. Peter's Square Christmas tree before the Angelus noon prayer with Pope Francis, at the Vatican, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the German theologian who will be remembered as the first pope in 600 years to resign, has died, the Vatican announced Saturday. He was 95. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
            
              A view of St. Peter's Square as Pope Francis delivers his blessing as he recites the Angelus noon prayer from the window of his studio overlooking, at the Vatican, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the German theologian who will be remembered as the first pope in 600 years to resign, has died, the Vatican announced Saturday. He was 95. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
            
              A Swiss guard stands as Pope Francis attends a Mass for the solemnity of St. Mary at the beginning of the new year, in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the German theologian who will be remembered as the first pope in 600 years to resign, has died, the Vatican announced Saturday. He was 95. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
            
              Nuns bearing Polish flags listen to Pope Francis as he appears at his window overlooking St. Peter's Square at The Vatican for the traditional noon blessing, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. When addressing the faithful in St. Peter's Square, Francis cited the "intolerable" war in Ukraine, which began in February of last year with Russia's attacks and invasion, and in other places in the world. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)
            
              Pope Francis is seen on a giant screen as he appears at his window overlooking St. Peter's Square at The Vatican for the traditional noon blessing, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. When addressing the faithful in St. Peter's Square, Francis cited the "intolerable" war in Ukraine, which began in February of last year with Russia's attacks and invasion, and in other places in the world. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)
            
              Pope Francis delivers his blessing as he recites the Angelus noon prayer from the window of his studio overlooking St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the German theologian who will be remembered as the first pope in 600 years to resign, has died, the Vatican announced Saturday. He was 95. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
            
              Nuns read the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano bearing the news of the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI as they wait for Pope Francis to appear at his window overlooking St. Peter's Square at The Vatican for the traditional noon blessing, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. Pope Benedict, the German theologian who will be remembered as the first pope in 600 years to resign, has died, the Vatican announced Saturday Dec. 31, 2022. He was 95. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)
            
              Pope Francis attends a Mass for the solemnity of St. Mary at the beginning of the new year, in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the German theologian who will be remembered as the first pope in 600 years to resign, has died, the Vatican announced Saturday. He was 95. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
            
              In this image released on Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023, by the Vatican Media news service late Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is laid out in state in the chapel of the monastery 'Mater Ecclesiae' where he mostly lived after retiring on Feb. 28, 2013. Pope Benedict, the German theologian who will be remembered as the first pope in 600 years to resign, has died, the Vatican announced Saturday Dec. 31, 2022. He was 95. (Vatican Media via AP)
            
              In this image released on Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023, by the Vatican Media news service, late Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is laid out in state in the chapel of the monastery 'Mater Ecclesiae' where he mostly lived after retiring on Feb. 28, 2013. Pope Benedict, the German theologian who will be remembered as the first pope in 600 years to resign, has died, the Vatican announced Saturday Dec. 31, 2022. He was 95. (Vatican Media via AP)
            
              In this image released on Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023, by the Vatican Media news service, late Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is laid out in state in the chapel of the monastery 'Mater Ecclesiae' where he mostly lived after retiring on Feb. 28, 2013. Pope Benedict, the German theologian who will be remembered as the first pope in 600 years to resign, has died, the Vatican announced Saturday Dec. 31, 2022. He was 95. (Vatican Media via AP)
            
              Pope Francis holds a Mass for the solemnity of St. Mary at the beginning of the new year, in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the German theologian who will be remembered as the first pope in 600 years to resign, has died, the Vatican announced Saturday. He was 95. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
            
              Pope Francis kisses a statue of Baby Jesus as he attends a Mass for the solemnity of St. Mary at the beginning of the new year, in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the German theologian who will be remembered as the first pope in 600 years to resign, has died, the Vatican announced Saturday. He was 95. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
            
              A view of the St. Peter's Basilica at The Vatican and Rome's skyline, Sunday, Jan.1, 2023. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the German theologian who will be remembered as the first pope in 600 years to resign, has died, the Vatican announced SaturdayDec. 1, 2022. He was 95. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
            
              St. Peter's Basilica is reflected in a ball adorning St. Peter's Square Christmas tree before the Angelus noon prayer with Pope Francis, at the Vatican, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the German theologian who will be remembered as the first pope in 600 years to resign, has died, the Vatican announced Saturday. He was 95. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
            
              Nuns bearing Polish flags listen to Pope Francis as he appears at his window overlooking St. Peter's Square at The Vatican for the traditional noon blessing, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. When addressing the faithful in St. Peter's Square, Francis cited the "intolerable" war in Ukraine, which began in February of last year with Russia's attacks and invasion, and in other places in the world. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)
            
              Pope Francis is seen on a giant screen as he appears at his window overlooking St. Peter's Square at The Vatican for the traditional noon blessing, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. When addressing the faithful in St. Peter's Square, Francis cited the "intolerable" war in Ukraine, which began in February of last year with Russia's attacks and invasion, and in other places in the world. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)
            
              Nuns read the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano bearing the news of the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI as they wait for Pope Francis to appear at his window overlooking St. Peter's Square at The Vatican for the traditional noon blessing, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. Pope Benedict, the German theologian who will be remembered as the first pope in 600 years to resign, has died, the Vatican announced Saturday Dec. 31, 2022. He was 95. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)
            
              A view of St. Peter's Square as Pope Francis delivers his blessing as he recites the Angelus noon prayer from the window of his studio overlooking, at the Vatican, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the German theologian who will be remembered as the first pope in 600 years to resign, has died, the Vatican announced Saturday. He was 95. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
            
              A Swiss guard stands as Pope Francis attends a Mass for the solemnity of St. Mary at the beginning of the new year, in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the German theologian who will be remembered as the first pope in 600 years to resign, has died, the Vatican announced Saturday. He was 95. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
            
              Pope Francis delivers his blessing as he recites the Angelus noon prayer from the window of his studio overlooking St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the German theologian who will be remembered as the first pope in 600 years to resign, has died, the Vatican announced Saturday. He was 95. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
            
              Pope Francis recites the Angelus noon prayer from the window of his studio overlooking St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the German theologian who will be remembered as the first pope in 600 years to resign, has died, the Vatican announced Saturday. He was 95. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
            
              Pope Francis attends a Mass for the solemnity of St. Mary at the beginning of the new year, in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the German theologian who will be remembered as the first pope in 600 years to resign, has died, the Vatican announced Saturday. He was 95. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
            
              In this image released on Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023, by the Vatican Media news service late Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is laid out in state in the chapel of the monastery 'Mater Ecclesiae' where he mostly lived after retiring on Feb. 28, 2013. Pope Benedict, the German theologian who will be remembered as the first pope in 600 years to resign, has died, the Vatican announced Saturday Dec. 31, 2022. He was 95. (Vatican Media via AP)
            
              In this image released on Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023, by the Vatican Media news service, late Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is laid out in state in the chapel of the monastery 'Mater Ecclesiae' where he mostly lived after retiring on Feb. 28, 2013. Pope Benedict, the German theologian who will be remembered as the first pope in 600 years to resign, has died, the Vatican announced Saturday Dec. 31, 2022. He was 95. (Vatican Media via AP)
            
              In this image released on Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023, by the Vatican Media news service, late Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is laid out in state in the chapel of the monastery 'Mater Ecclesiae' where he mostly lived after retiring on Feb. 28, 2013. Pope Benedict, the German theologian who will be remembered as the first pope in 600 years to resign, has died, the Vatican announced Saturday Dec. 31, 2022. He was 95. (Vatican Media via AP)
            
              Pope Francis holds a Mass for the solemnity of St. Mary at the beginning of the new year, in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the German theologian who will be remembered as the first pope in 600 years to resign, has died, the Vatican announced Saturday. He was 95. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
            
              Pope Francis kisses a statue of Baby Jesus as he attends a Mass for the solemnity of St. Mary at the beginning of the new year, in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the German theologian who will be remembered as the first pope in 600 years to resign, has died, the Vatican announced Saturday. He was 95. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
            
              A view of the St. Peter's Basilica at The Vatican and Rome's skyline, Sunday, Jan.1, 2023. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the German theologian who will be remembered as the first pope in 600 years to resign, has died, the Vatican announced SaturdayDec. 1, 2022. He was 95. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
            
              St. Peter's Basilica is reflected in a ball adorning St. Peter's Square Christmas tree before the Angelus noon prayer with Pope Francis, at the Vatican, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the German theologian who will be remembered as the first pope in 600 years to resign, has died, the Vatican announced Saturday. He was 95. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
            
              Nuns bearing Polish flags listen to Pope Francis as he appears at his window overlooking St. Peter's Square at The Vatican for the traditional noon blessing, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. When addressing the faithful in St. Peter's Square, Francis cited the "intolerable" war in Ukraine, which began in February of last year with Russia's attacks and invasion, and in other places in the world. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)
            
              Pope Francis is seen on a giant screen as he appears at his window overlooking St. Peter's Square at The Vatican for the traditional noon blessing, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. When addressing the faithful in St. Peter's Square, Francis cited the "intolerable" war in Ukraine, which began in February of last year with Russia's attacks and invasion, and in other places in the world. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)
            
              Nuns read the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano bearing the news of the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI as they wait for Pope Francis to appear at his window overlooking St. Peter's Square at The Vatican for the traditional noon blessing, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. Pope Benedict, the German theologian who will be remembered as the first pope in 600 years to resign, has died, the Vatican announced Saturday Dec. 31, 2022. He was 95. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)
            
              A view of St. Peter's Square as Pope Francis delivers his blessing as he recites the Angelus noon prayer from the window of his studio overlooking, at the Vatican, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the German theologian who will be remembered as the first pope in 600 years to resign, has died, the Vatican announced Saturday. He was 95. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
            
              A Swiss guard stands as Pope Francis attends a Mass for the solemnity of St. Mary at the beginning of the new year, in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the German theologian who will be remembered as the first pope in 600 years to resign, has died, the Vatican announced Saturday. He was 95. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
            
              Pope Francis delivers his blessing as he recites the Angelus noon prayer from the window of his studio overlooking St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the German theologian who will be remembered as the first pope in 600 years to resign, has died, the Vatican announced Saturday. He was 95. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
            
              Pope Francis recites the Angelus noon prayer from the window of his studio overlooking St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the German theologian who will be remembered as the first pope in 600 years to resign, has died, the Vatican announced Saturday. He was 95. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
            
              Pope Francis attends a Mass for the solemnity of St. Mary at the beginning of the new year, in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the German theologian who will be remembered as the first pope in 600 years to resign, has died, the Vatican announced Saturday. He was 95. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
            
              In this image released on Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023, by the Vatican Media news service late Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is laid out in state in the chapel of the monastery 'Mater Ecclesiae' where he mostly lived after retiring on Feb. 28, 2013. Pope Benedict, the German theologian who will be remembered as the first pope in 600 years to resign, has died, the Vatican announced Saturday Dec. 31, 2022. He was 95. (Vatican Media via AP)
            
              In this image released on Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023, by the Vatican Media news service, late Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is laid out in state in the chapel of the monastery 'Mater Ecclesiae' where he mostly lived after retiring on Feb. 28, 2013. Pope Benedict, the German theologian who will be remembered as the first pope in 600 years to resign, has died, the Vatican announced Saturday Dec. 31, 2022. He was 95. (Vatican Media via AP)
            
              In this image released on Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023, by the Vatican Media news service, late Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is laid out in state in the chapel of the monastery 'Mater Ecclesiae' where he mostly lived after retiring on Feb. 28, 2013. Pope Benedict, the German theologian who will be remembered as the first pope in 600 years to resign, has died, the Vatican announced Saturday Dec. 31, 2022. He was 95. (Vatican Media via AP)
            
              Pope Francis holds a Mass for the solemnity of St. Mary at the beginning of the new year, in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the German theologian who will be remembered as the first pope in 600 years to resign, has died, the Vatican announced Saturday. He was 95. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
            
              Pope Francis kisses a statue of Baby Jesus as he attends a Mass for the solemnity of St. Mary at the beginning of the new year, in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the German theologian who will be remembered as the first pope in 600 years to resign, has died, the Vatican announced Saturday. He was 95. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
            
              In this image released on Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023, by the Vatican Media news service, late Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is laid out in state in the chapel of the monastery 'Mater Ecclesiae' where he mostly lived after retiring on Feb. 28, 2013. Pope Benedict, the German theologian who will be remembered as the first pope in 600 years to resign, has died, the Vatican announced Saturday Dec. 31, 2022. He was 95. (Vatican Media via AP)
            
              In this image released on Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023, by the Vatican Media news service, late Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is laid out in state in the chapel of the monastery 'Mater Ecclesiae' where he mostly lived after retiring on Feb. 28, 2013. Pope Benedict, the German theologian who will be remembered as the first pope in 600 years to resign, has died, the Vatican announced Saturday Dec. 31, 2022. He was 95. (Vatican Media via AP)
            
              In this image released on Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023, by the Vatican Media news service, late Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is laid out in state in the chapel of the monastery 'Mater Ecclesiae' where he mostly lived after retiring on Feb. 28, 2013. Pope Benedict, the German theologian who will be remembered as the first pope in 600 years to resign, has died, the Vatican announced Saturday Dec. 31, 2022. He was 95. (Vatican Media via AP)
            
              Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin celebrates with Pope Francis a Mass for the solemnity of St. Mary at the beginning of the new year, in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the German theologian who will be remembered as the first pope in 600 years to resign, has died, the Vatican announced Saturday. He was 95. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
            
              Pope Francis holds a Mass for the solemnity of St. Mary at the beginning of the new year, in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the German theologian who will be remembered as the first pope in 600 years to resign, has died, the Vatican announced Saturday. He was 95. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
            
              Pope Francis kisses a statue of Baby Jesus as he attends a Mass for the solemnity of St. Mary at the beginning of the new year, in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the German theologian who will be remembered as the first pope in 600 years to resign, has died, the Vatican announced Saturday. He was 95. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
            
              A view of St. Peter's Square as Pope Francis delivers his blessing as he recites the Angelus noon prayer from the window of his studio overlooking, at the Vatican, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the German theologian who will be remembered as the first pope in 600 years to resign, has died, the Vatican announced Saturday. He was 95. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
            
              Pope Francis delivers his blessing as he recites the Angelus noon prayer from the window of his studio overlooking St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the German theologian who will be remembered as the first pope in 600 years to resign, has died, the Vatican announced Saturday. He was 95. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
            
              In this image released on Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023, by the Vatican Media news service, late Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is laid out in state in the chapel of the monastery 'Mater Ecclesiae' where he mostly lived after retiring on Feb. 28, 2013. Pope Benedict, the German theologian who will be remembered as the first pope in 600 years to resign, has died, the Vatican announced Saturday Dec. 31, 2022. He was 95. (Vatican Media via AP)
            
              In this image released on Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023, by the Vatican Media news service late Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is laid out in state in the chapel of the monastery 'Mater Ecclesiae' where he mostly lived after retiring on Feb. 28, 2013. Pope Benedict, the German theologian who will be remembered as the first pope in 600 years to resign, has died, the Vatican announced Saturday Dec. 31, 2022. He was 95. (Vatican Media via AP)
            
              Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin celebrates with Pope Francis a Mass for the solemnity of St. Mary at the beginning of the new year, in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the German theologian who will be remembered as the first pope in 600 years to resign, has died, the Vatican announced Saturday. He was 95. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
            
              Pope Francis holds a Mass for the solemnity of St. Mary at the beginning of the new year, in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the German theologian who will be remembered as the first pope in 600 years to resign, has died, the Vatican announced Saturday. He was 95. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
            
              Pope Francis kisses a statue of Baby Jesus as he attends a Mass for the solemnity of St. Mary at the beginning of the new year, in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the German theologian who will be remembered as the first pope in 600 years to resign, has died, the Vatican announced Saturday. He was 95. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
            
              A view of St. Peter's Square as Pope Francis delivers his blessing as he recites the Angelus noon prayer from the window of his studio overlooking, at the Vatican, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the German theologian who will be remembered as the first pope in 600 years to resign, has died, the Vatican announced Saturday. He was 95. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
            
              Pope Francis delivers his blessing as he recites the Angelus noon prayer from the window of his studio overlooking St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the German theologian who will be remembered as the first pope in 600 years to resign, has died, the Vatican announced Saturday. He was 95. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
            
              Pope Francis holds attends a Mass for the solemnity of St. Mary at the beginning of the new year, in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the German theologian who will be remembered as the first pope in 600 years to resign, has died, the Vatican announced Saturday. He was 95. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
            
              Pope Francis holds attends a Mass for the solemnity of St. Mary at the beginning of the new year, in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the German theologian who will be remembered as the first pope in 600 years to resign, has died, the Vatican announced Saturday. He was 95. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
            
              Pope Francis arrives to hold a Mass for the solemnity of St. Mary at the beginning of the new year, in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the German theologian who will be remembered as the first pope in 600 years to resign, has died, the Vatican announced Saturday. He was 95. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
            
              Pope Francis holds attends a Mass for the solemnity of St. Mary at the beginning of the new year, in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the German theologian who will be remembered as the first pope in 600 years to resign, has died, the Vatican announced Saturday. He was 95. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
            
              Pope Francis holds a Mass for the solemnity of St. Mary at the beginning of the new year, in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the German theologian who will be remembered as the first pope in 600 years to resign, has died, the Vatican announced Saturday. He was 95. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s last words were “Lord, I love you,” his longtime secretary said Sunday, quoting a nurse who helped care for the 95-year-old former pontiff in his final hours.

Archbishop Georg Gaenswein, a German prelate who lived in the Vatican monastery where Benedict took up residence after his 2013 retirement, said the nurse recounted hearing Benedict utter those words at about 3 a.m. Saturday. The retired pope died later that morning.

“Benedict XVI, with a faint voice but in a very distinct way, said in Italian, ‘Lord, I love you,”’ Gaenswein told the Vatican’s official media, adding that it happened when the aides tending to Benedict were changing shifts.

“I wasn’t there in that moment, but the nurse a little later recounted it,” the archbishop said. “They were his last comprehensible words, because afterwards, he wasn’t able to express himself any more.”

Gaenswein did not identify the male nurse who shared the information.

Earlier, the Vatican said that Pope Francis went to pay his respects immediately after Gaenswein called to inform him of Benedict’s death shortly after 9:30 a.m. Saturday Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said Francis stayed in Benedict’s monastery for quite some time before returning to his residence in a hotel located across the Vatican Gardens.

During New Year’s Day remarks on Sunday, Francis prayed for his predecessor’s passage to heaven and expressed thanks for Benedict’s lifetime of service to the church.

Francis departed briefly from reading his homily during a morning Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica to pray aloud for Benedict.

“Today we entrust to our Blessed Mother our beloved Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, so that she may accompany him in his passage from this world to God,” he said.

The basilica is set to host Benedict’s coffin for three days of viewing that start Monday.

Rome Prefect Bruno Frattasi, an Interior Ministry official, told Italian state TV that “no fewer than 25,000, 30,000” mourners were expected to file past the coffin on Monday.

On Sunday, Benedict’s body lay on a burgundy-colored bier in the chapel of the monastery where he had lived during his nearly decade-long retirement. He was dressed in a miter, the headgear of a bishop, and a red cloak-like vestment.

A rosary was placed in his hand. Behind him, visible in photos released by the Vatican, were the chapel’s altar and a decorated Christmas tree.

Francis remembered Benedict again later Sunday while addressing thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square. He told the crowd that “in these hours, we invoke her intercession, in particular for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who, yesterday morning, left this world.”

“Let us unite all together, with one heart and one soul, in giving thanks to God for the gift of this faithful servant of the Gospel and of the church,” Francis said, speaking from a window of the Apostolic Palace to pilgrims and tourists below.

The square will be the setting for Benedict’s funeral led by Francis on Thursday morning. The service will be a simple one, the Vatican has said, in keeping with the wishes of Benedict. Before he was elected pope in 2005, Benedict was a German cardinal who served as the Church’s guardian of doctrinal orthodoxy.

In recent years, Francis hailed Benedict’s stunning decision to become the first pope to resign in 600 years and has made clear he’d consider such a step as an option for himself.

Hobbled by knee pain, Francis, 86, on Sunday arrived in the basilica in a wheelchair and took his place in a chair for the Mass, which was being celebrated by the Vatican’s secretary of state.

Francis, who has repeatedly decried the war in Ukraine and its devastation, recalled those who are victims of war, passing the year-end holidays in darkness, cold and fear.

“At the beginning of this year, we need hope, just as the Earth needs rain,” Francis said in his homily.

While addressing the faithful in St. Peter’s Square, the pope cited the “intolerable” war in Ukraine, which began more than 10 months ago, and conflicts elsewhere other places in the world.

Yet, Francis said, “let us not lose hope” that peace will prevail.

___

Nicole Winfield contributed from the Vatican.

___

More on the death of Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI: https://apnews.com/hub/pope-benedict-xvi

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Tyre Nichols ‘ mother was just steps away from her son but couldn’t hear his anguished cries. Beaten and broken, struggling to survive, Nichols had called out for her as five Memphis Police Department officers punched him, kicked him, and hit him with a baton after a traffic stop on Jan. […]
1 day ago
FILE - Beyoncé appears at the 63rd annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles on March 14, 2021.  (AP Pho...
Associated Press

How to watch the Grammys live (including the red carpet)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Grammys have evolved from their humble beginnings into a daylong feast of music — and there’s many ways to watch the red carpet and show live. Most of the awards are handed out before that during the Premiere Ceremony, which the Recording Academy will stream live Sunday beginning at 3:30 […]
1 day ago

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