Emeritus Pope Benedict, 93, ‘extremely frail’ after visiting dying brother in Germany

Benedict XVI at the airport in Munich after visiting his brother in June - AFP

Former Pope Benedict XVI became seriously ill after visiting his sick brother in Germany in June and is “extremely frail”, according to a report in the German Passauer Neue Presse newspaper on Monday, August 3rd.

Benedict, 93, is suffering from erysipelas of the face, a virus that causes a rash and episodes of severe pain, the newspaper reported, citing the former pontiff’s biographer, Peter Seewald.

“According to Seewald, the Pope emeritus is now extremely frail,” the report said. “His thinking and his memory are quick, but his voice is hardly audible at the moment.”

Mr Seewald reportedly visited Benedict in Rome on Saturday to present him with his biography.

“At the meeting the emeritus Pope, despite his illness, was optimistic and declared that if his strength increased again he would possibly take up his pen again,” the paper said.

Benedict visited his sick brother, Georg, in Germany in June, marking his first trip out of Italy since his shock resignation in 2013. Georg Ratzinger died two weeks later, aged 96.

Flowers are displayed on the grave of Georg Ratzinger - Christof Stache/AFP
Flowers are displayed on the grave of Georg Ratzinger – Christof Stache/AFP

The former pontiff, whose original name is Joseph Ratzinger, now lives in a small former monastery inside the Vatican.

He has largely stayed out of the public eye since he became the first Pope in 600 years to resign, citing health reasons. A traditionalist in the Catholic Church, he was replaced by the reformist Pope Francis.



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