August 2010, Telegraph.
His predecessor, Pope John Paul II, declined his request to spend his last years as the archivist of the Vatican Secret Archives and as a librarian of the Vatican Library, according to the incumbent librarian and archivist Cardinal Raffaele Farina.
Speaking in Inside the Vatican magazine, Cardinal Farina recalled when he was appointed prefect of the Vatican Library in May 1997 he had a brief meeting with Cardinal Ratzinger in which he was asked his own opinion of the future pope joining the team.
At the time the future Pope Benedict was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Pope’s doctrinal enforcer.
But he found his job “burdensome” and wanted to retire to academic study of ancient documents for the rest of his life.
He asked the Pope if he could step down from his role when he turned 70 on April 16, 1997, a move which would have permanently removed him from Vatican politics and from the eyes of the world.