Earlier this morning Benedict XVI paid a visit to the Papal Library and the Vatican’s Secret Archives. During his address to the Library staff, he revealed that he had asked John Paul II for permission to resign from his post as the head of the Confraternity for Doctrine and Faith in 1997 to devote himself to research.
Benedict said that ten years ago, on his own 70th birthday, he "would have liked the beloved John Paul II to have granted me the chance of dedicating myself to study and research on the interesting documents ... you safeguard so carefully, real masterworks that help us to follow the story of humanity and of Christianity."
However, the late Holy Father providentially did not grant the request made by the then Cardinal Ratzinger to devote himself to further studies.
The closing words of the Pope perhaps give us some insight into his admiration for the work of the Library and Archives. “Always consider your work as a real mission to be undertaken passionately and patiently, with courtesy and a spirit of faith. Let it be your concern always to offer a welcoming image of the Apostolic See, aware that the evangelical message also passes through your own coherent Christian witness."