Vatican: Pope Benedict is frail, but his mind remains 'perfectly lucid'


By Junno Arocho Esteves

retired Pope Benedict XVI is growing more frail, there are no particular
concerns or worries regarding his health, a Vatican spokesman said.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi,
the Vatican spokesman, issued a statement March 25 following an interview with Archbishop Georg Ganswein, the retired pope’s personal
secretary, in which the archbishop said Pope Benedict was slowly “fading.”

“In April,
Pope Benedict XVI turns 89 years old. He is like a candle that is slowly,
serenely fading, as it happens with many of us. He is calm, in peace
with God, with himself and the world,” Archbishop Ganswein told the Italian
magazine BenEssere.

The retired
pope’s personal secretary added that Pope Benedict still retains “his
refined, subtle sense of humor” and remains fond of cats.

and Zorro, two cats that live in our gardens, come often to say hello to the
pope emeritus,” he said.

After questions were
raised regarding the aging pontiff’s health, Father Lombardi said his condition
“does not raise any particular concerns.”

“Of course, it is part of the effects of old
age and a gradual, growing fragility of the physical condition as with any
elderly person,” he said. “(Pope Benedict’s) mind is perfectly lucid
as we recently witnessed in his extraordinary interview with an Italian

In that interview,
published in mid-March with Belgian Jesuit Father Jacques Servais, Pope Benedict
reflected on the theme of mercy as a “sign of the times” that shows how, deep
down, people still experience a need for God.

“Mercy is what moves us toward God, while justice makes us
tremble in his sight,” he said.

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Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.

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