A report by a German newspaper on Monday revealed that former Pope Benedict XVI, the first pontiff in 600 years to resign instead of ruling for life, is seriously ill at the moment.
The newspaper, Passauer Neue Presse, cited Benedict’s biographer, German author Peter Seewald, who met the 93-year-old emeritus pope at the Vatican on Saturday.
A Vatican spokesperson had no comment on the report and the former pope’s personal secretary, Archbishop George Ganswein, did not immediately return a call asking for comment.
He is understood to be suffering from shingles. Mr Seewald told the paper: “His thinking and memory are sharp, but his voice is barely audible at the moment.
The 93-year-old returned to his native Bavaria in June to pay his ailing brother Georg Ratzinger a final visit. Mr Ratzinger, aged 96, died shortly afterwards.
The former pontiff, whose original name is Joseph Ratzinger, lives in a small former monastery inside the Vatican.
He has stayed out of public life since he became the first pope in 600 years to resign.
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