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

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI sits in St. Peter's Basilica as he attends the ceremony marking the start of the Holy Year on Dec. 8, 2015, at the Vatican. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

VATICAN CITY (AP) — 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.”

Benedict wrote a brief letter to Italian daily Corriere della Sera after readers inquired how he was doing. The paper published the note Wednesday, just a few days before the anniversary of Benedict’s stunning resignation announcement on Feb. 11, 2013.

The 90-year-old pope wrote that he was moved by such concern: “I can only say that in the slow decline of my physical strength, internally I am on a pilgrimage home.”

He thanked the readers for their concern, saying it was a “grace” to be surrounded by such love “on this final stretch of the road, that’s sometimes difficult.”

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The Associated Press

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