Europe

Retired pope offers final reflections on papacy, Francis

  • FILE - This Sept. 28, 2014 file photo shows Pope Francis, right, greeting Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI prior to the start of a meeting with elderly faithful in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican. Excerpts of a new book-interview, "The Last Conversations", by Benedict and German journalist Peter Seewald, where the retired pope offers final reflections on papacy, were published Thursday, Sept. 8, 2016 in Italy's Corriere della Sera.  (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia, files)

    FILE - This Sept. 28, 2014 file photo shows Pope Francis, right, greeting Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI prior to the start of a meeting with elderly faithful in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican. Excerpts of a new book-interview, "The Last Conversations", by Benedict and German journalist Peter Seewald, where the retired pope offers final reflections on papacy, were published Thursday, Sept. 8, 2016 in Italy's Corriere della Sera. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia, files)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - This Feb. 14, 2015 file photo shows Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI sitting amongst cardinals during a ceremony in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. Excerpts of a new book-interview, "The Last Conversations", by Benedict and German journalist Peter Seewald, where the retired pope offers final reflections on papacy, were published Thursday, Sept. 8, 2016 in Italy's Corriere della Sera.  (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini, files)

    FILE - This Feb. 14, 2015 file photo shows Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI sitting amongst cardinals during a ceremony in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. Excerpts of a new book-interview, "The Last Conversations", by Benedict and German journalist Peter Seewald, where the retired pope offers final reflections on papacy, were published Thursday, Sept. 8, 2016 in Italy's Corriere della Sera. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini, files)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - This Dec. 8, 2015 file photo shows Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI sitting in St. Peter's Basilica as he attends the ceremony marking the start of the Holy Year, at the Vatican. Excerpts of a new book-interview, "The Last Conversations" by Benedict and German journalist Peter Seewald were published Thursday, Sept. 8, 2016 in Italy's Corriere della Sera where the retired pope offers final reflections on papacy.  (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

    FILE - This Dec. 8, 2015 file photo shows Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI sitting in St. Peter's Basilica as he attends the ceremony marking the start of the Holy Year, at the Vatican. Excerpts of a new book-interview, "The Last Conversations" by Benedict and German journalist Peter Seewald were published Thursday, Sept. 8, 2016 in Italy's Corriere della Sera where the retired pope offers final reflections on papacy. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)  (The Associated Press)

Retired Pope Benedict XVI has acknowledged that governing the church wasn't his strong suit but says he doesn't see his papacy as a failure and that he succeeded at least in breaking up the Vatican's so-called "gay lobby."

In a new, book-length interview, excerpts of which were published Thursday in Corriere della Sera, Benedict also said he was shocked, and initially uncertain, about the election of Pope Francis. But he said he immediately realized the significance of electing a Latin American pope, and said he is very happy with Francis' papacy.

"The Last Conversations" was prepared with German journalist Peter Seewald, who has conducted several such interviews with Benedict from the time he was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

Benedict, 89, in 2013 became the first pope in 600 years to retire.