Mainz, Germany — Pope Benedict XVI fell in love as a young man and struggled with the decision to take an oath of celibacy, the author of a new book on the former Catholic leader has revealed.
Peter Seewald conducted several interviews with Benedict for their book “Last Testament: In His Own Words,” which will be released Friday.
He revealed several tidbits about the first pontiff to abdicate, in an interview published Thursday with German weekly newspaper "Die Zeit."
"There was an infatuation during his course of studies that was very serious," Seewald told the newspaper.
He said Benedict — then known as Joseph Ratzinger — struggled with the episode quite a bit while attending a co-ed college.
“One of his fellow students told me he had quite an effect on women — and the other way also," Seewald explained. "The decision for celibacy wasn’t easy for him.”
He added that the book only hints at Benedict's young love, focusing more on the retired pope's upbringing, papacy and relationship with current Pope Francis.
“For the first time in church history, a pope takes stock of his tenure,” Seewald told the newspaper.
Benedict, now 89, abdicated in 2013. He has largely kept out of public view since.