The word "recinto" is a bit strange and hard to translate. It means "enclosure," "paddock," "pen," "surrounding wall." A "recinto" is therefore a closed-in area, an area quite defined, an area created to enclose things and keep them safe.
So he is saying he is staying within the area established and closed in by St. Peter . . .
This space, this yard, this "recinto" where Benedict will remain, is not simply a physical space, the former nun's convent in Vatican City, in the gardens.
It is actually a spiritual space in the structure of the Church herself, a place "near Peter," a space in which an emeritus Pope, even if "hidden from the world," continues to live and have a role, like one more link in the chain of apostolic succession.
One might almost say it like this: (1) the new Pope, who will be elected in two or three or four weeks time, will be linked to all previous Popes who have died, and this is shown by the many tombs of Popes found in St. Peter's Basilica, and by St. Peter's tomb (which is directly under the high altar, and directly under the massive cupola of Michelangelo); but (2) the new Pope will also be linked to one previous Pope who has not physically died, but has, in a sense, been buried "to the world," and yet lives "in prayer," in a convent near the basilica, though "dead to the world."
Saturday, March 2, 2013
From The Moynihan Report of 2/27/13: