John Paul II

Benedict XVI's aide: 2014 World Cup led to his leaving

The longtime personal aide to the emeritus pontiff, Benedict XVI, says the increasingly frail pope had hoped to stay in the papacy until 2014 but resigned a year earlier because of soccer's World Cup.

Monsignor Georg Gaenswein's revealing comments about Benedict, who stunned the world in February 2013 by announcing he would be the first pontiff in 600 years to resign, came in a speech the aide gave in Munich last month.

Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera carried excerpts on Sunday from the speech, which was delivered when Gaenswein presented "The Last Conversations," a book based on Benedict's interview comments to a German journalist Peter Seewald.