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Pope Benedict 5 years on: weaker, but 'on a pilgrimage home'

FILE - In this Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015. filer, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI attends a Mass prior to the opening of the Holy Door of St. Peter's Basilica, formally starting the Jubilee of Mercy, at the Vatican. Retired Pope Benedict XVI has commemorated the fifth anniversary of his historic decision to retire by assuring that while his physical strength is waning, he is "on a pilgrimage home." (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia, File)

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI says he "is on a pilgrimage toward Home" in a rare public letter published in the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.

The brief note in Italian apparently came after the paper asked the Pope Emeritus for a response to readers who were wondering how he was.

"I can only say," Benedict wrote, "that in the slow waning of my physical forces, inwardly I am on a pilgrimage toward Home."

"It is a great grace for me to be surrounded on this last part of the road, sometimes a bit tiring, by such love and goodness that I never could have imagined," he wrote.

The 90-year-old former Pontiff has been living quietly at the Vatican since his surprise resignation as Pope in 2013.

The letter also said "it is a great grace for me to be surrounded ... by such love and goodness that I never could have imagined." 

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