Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is overcoming a “painful but not grave illness” and the illness is “not particularly worrying”, the Vatican said in a statement.
In a report in the German newspaper Passauer Neue Presse (PNP), it was claimed that the Pope Emeritus was “seriously ill.” This comes after Pope Benedict’s biographer, Peter Seewald, told journalists that the 93-year-old Pope is “exceptionally frail” when he visited him at Mater Ecclesia. Seewald also said that Pope Benedict was suffering from shingles—a viral infection that causes painful rashes and is common among older people.
It can be recalled that Pope Benedict has recently gone to Germany to visit his then sick brother, Msgr. Georg Ratzinger. Fr. Georg died on July 1, and the Pope Emeritus has been reportedly ill upon hearing of the saddening news. (Read: A Look Into the Brotherly Love of Joseph & Georg Ratzinger)
‘Painful But Not Grave’
However, the Vatican said that Pope Benedict’s health is not a cause for worry.
“The health conditions of the Pope Emeritus are not particularly worrying, apart from being those of an old man of (age) 93 who is overcoming the most acute phase of a painful but not grave illness,” the statement said. (Read: 3 Uplifting Prayers for the Sick and Healing)
For months, visitors of Pope Benedict have been claiming that his voice is barely audible—raising speculations that the Pope Emeritus is suffering from a grave illness. However, Pope Benedict is still reportedly looking at the situation from a positive perspective, he even told Seewald that he might pick up writing again if he regains his strength.
In a letter published in an Italian newspaper in February 2018, Pope Benedict said, “I can only say that at the end of a slow decline in physical strength, inwardly I am on pilgrimage home.”
In the report published by PNP, it was said that Pope Benedict has chosen to be buried in the former tomb of St. John Paul II in the crypt of St. Peter’s Basilica. Like John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI has written a spiritual testament which can be published after his death. (Read: Poland opens ‘John Paul II Institute of Culture’ to honor the Saint Pope)
Benedict was elected Pope in 2005 succeeding Pope John Paul II. He shocked the world and his closest aides when he announced his resignation citing advanced age and declining strength. He was the first pope to resign in nearly 600 years.