Benedict eases into peaceful retirement

The former Pope Benedict XVI has spent the first days of his retirement reading, praying and listening to music.

After stepping down on Thursday evening, the retired Pope watched several news programmes, according to the director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr Federico Lombardi.

He also took a short walk through the Apostolic Palace before praying and retiring to bed.

Benedict is spending several weeks at his summer residence, Castel Gandolfo, close to Rome before his move to a secluded monastery within the walls of the Vatican.

He spoke of his desire to spend his retirement away from the world in reflection and prayer. He brought various books on theology, history, and spirituality with him and is currently reading from a book by the Swiss theologian Hans Urs von Balthazar.

Benedict became the first Pope to resign in 600 years because he no longer felt physically able to meet the demands of the role.

Cardinals will meet at the Vatican from 9:30am on Monday for the start of meetings to set the date for the conclave to elect Benedict's successor.