Former Pope Benedict XVI in Critical Condition? Vatican Responds to Grave Claim

Former Pope Benedict XVI is suffering from shingles. His biographer Peter Seewald had expressed concerns about his health saying his voice was barely audible

News about former Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI ill health has caused concerns among people after his biographer Peter Seewald revealed that he had become extremely frail and his voice was hardly audible. Reacting to the same, Vatican assured that ex-Pope Benedict's condition is not particularly worrying.

The news of ex-Pope Benedict's ill health started spreading after an article was published by the Passauer Neue Presse, based on Seewald's visit on Saturday, August 2 and his finding that he had become extremely frail.

Pope Benedict XVI gives blessings at the Saint Peter`s Basilica at the Vatican in Rome during the Thanksgiving mass for the new cardinals in Vatican City, Vatican, 19 February 2012. Pope Benedict XVI wants to resign. The Italian news agency ANSA announced
File photo of Pope Benedict XVI giving his blessings at the Saint Peter`s Basilica at the Vatican in Rome in 2012. IANS

The 93-year-old Benedict is said to be suffering from viral infection called shingles, which is quite painful. He also said that Benedict's voice was barely audible. Numerous other people had also raised the concern of Benedict's voice in earlier instances.

Not Particularly Worrying: Vatican

After the news got published, Vatican also issued a statement and said that Benedict was not suffering from any grave illness. "The health conditions of the Pope Emeritus are not particularly worrying, apart from being those of an old man of 93 who is overcoming the most acute phase of a painful but not grave illness," said the statement.

However, Seewald also said that Benedict expressed his wish to start writing again once he regains his health. Benedict currently lives in the former convent in the Vatican gardens. He has been residing there since his retirement in 2013.

Recently he traveled to Germany, in his first travel after resigning, to attend the funeral of his brother Georg Ratzinger who passed away on July 1. The funeral was held at their native place Bavaria, Germany, and Benedict paid his last respect to his brother who was ordained on the same day as him in 1951.

Vatican Mired in Controversies

Benedict was appointed as the Pope in 2005 after retirement of Pope John Paul II who held the top position for 27 years. Being a successor of the most popular Pope was not an easy task. Leading the top religious institute was challenging as Vatican was mired in numerous controversies including financial problems, sexual abuse scandals and infighting among the bureaucrats when he took charge.

Later, citing health issues, Pope Benedict resigned from his post in 2013 despite opposition from his associates and people. Citing his ill health, he said he was not in a position to lead 1.3 billion people around the world.

Currently, Pope Francis is leading the top most religious institution of the Roman Catholics. Recently, he was also said to be not in good health and there were rumors that he had contracted COVID-19. But the rumors were rubbished and he is back in office performing his duties.