The emeritus pontiff is 95 years old. Bergoglio told the Wednesday general audience that he “is very ill.” And he went to visit him.
At the conclusion of his weekly general audience this Wednesday morning, the last of 2022, the Argentine pontiff Francisco asked the faithful present “a special prayer” for him Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI95-year-old German Joseph Ratzinger.
“He is very sick”, explained Jorge Bergoglio and “in silence he is supporting the Church”. Francis asked “the Lord to console him and sustain him in this testimony of love for the Church until the end.”
The Pope immediately moved to the Mater Ecclesia Monastery in which Ratzinger has resided since shortly after March 13, when Jorge Bergoglio was elected by a Conclave, accompanied by his secretary, Monsignor Georg Gaenswein, and four consecrated women who assist him.
“A candle that goes out”
Many remembered the phrase of Georg Gaensweinm his personal secretary. “It is like a candle that goes out”, to summarize his state of health due to his advanced age.
An important version of a neighboring cardinal who closely assists the Pope emeritus pointed out that “his conditions since yesterday (for Tuesday) have been made hour after hour increasingly precarious”.
“Her heart is very strong,” a monastery source said. Pope Bergoglio’s decision to visit him was a consequence of his worsening state of health.
The Vatican spokesman said doctors are keeping “the situation under control” but the feeling is that Joseph Ratzinger is dying by a natural aging process.
The pope emeritus turned 95 on April 16. He had surprisingly announced his resignation on April 11, 2013which materialized on the 28th of that month, starting the succession mechanism.
Due to advanced age, his health conditions became increasingly fragile. More than speaking, he whispered, but his few interlocutors affirm that he demonstrated an intact lucidity.
Before Christmas, his successor Francis spoke of him as “a saint, a man of high spirituality.” The Argentine Pope explained that “he visited him frequently and I am edified by his transparent gaze. He lives in contemplation, he is lucid, very lively, he has a good sense of humor. he is a great man”.
Almost ten years ago, the Pope who had been elected on April 19, 2005 after the death of John Paul II surprised the world by announce in latin during a Consistory his resignation from the papacy. “After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strength, due to advanced age, is not adapted to adequately exercise the Petrine ministry.”
That gesture of Ratzinger made him a unique character in history of the church. In fact modernized the figure and function of the papacy. After more than six centuries, he demonstrated that a Pope can resign when he feels that he is not in a position to continue.
When he was number two in the Church, as the main adviser to John Paul II, the then-Cardinal Ratzinger, guardian of orthodoxy in charge of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, suffered a stroke, an illness that had already affected his family. He resigned before Pope Wojtyla, who rejected it.
Elected Pope in the conclave of April 19, 2005, Joseph Ratzinger he chose to be called Benedict XVI and ruled for eight years.
His closest collaborators knew that the Pope was thinking of his resignation at least two years before resigning. Recent travels had tired him a lot and it was reported that he felt he would not be able to travel to Brazil for the Youth Festival in 2013. After his resignation, the celebration became the first trip outside of Italy for the new Argentine pope.
The Vatican announces a “worsening” in the health of Benedict XVI and Francis asks to pray for him