Pope Benedict was keenly aware of his own waning strength while faced with such a demanding ministry, Archbishop Georg Ganswein told an Italian newspaper.
The pope began a meeting with some 150 cardinals to discuss reform of the Vatican bureaucracy by calling on them to speak boldly and to keep in mind the "salvation of souls."
The cardinals advising Pope Francis on reforming the church's central bureaucracy have yet to create a single comprehensive draft of a new structure of governance.
One month after saying Catholics may have an obligation to limit their number of children, Francis has said families that choose not to have kids are selfish.
Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst has been given a new position in the Roman Curia working to help prepare catechism for national bishops' conferences.
The cardinal-designate spoke about the situations faced by people in his country, the changing dynamic of the College of Cardinals and how Francis is "reviving" the church.
It is important that "a homliy isn't boring." If one looks at the homilies of Francis, "there is nothing boring. There is always something that challenges people."
People will not find the face of God by relaxing at home on the couch, surfing online or reading encyclopedias, Pope Francis said.
Only people with a restless heart that thirsts for God will find him as they strike out on the road, taking risks and overcoming fatigue, danger and doubt, he said Feb. 10 during the morning Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae where he lives.
Cities can be chaotic and cold, but people need God in a metropolis as much as they need him anywhere, Pope Francis said.
Lay Catholics especially are called "to go out without fear," offering a human touch and God's love to people they work with or live near, the pope said Saturday during a meeting with members of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.
The commission, which mentions the word "accountability" four times in its statement, says it is "keenly aware that the issue of accountability is of major importance."