Pope Francis visited his predecessor this Wednesday, Benedict XVIwho resides in a monastery inside Vatican City since his historic resignation in 2013, to congratulate him on his 95th birthday, which will be next Saturday.
The Argentine pontiff went this afternoon shortly after 6:00 p.m. local time (4:00 p.m. GMT) to the monastery Mater Ecclesiae of the Vatican to visit the pope emeritus, with whom he had a “brief and affectionate” conversation, the Holy See reported in a statement on Wednesday.
They both prayed together and then Francis returned to his residence, Casa Santa Marta.also within the Vatican walls.
Benedict XVI (Marktl, 1927) will be 95 years old next Saturday, April 16, and he will do so as in recent times, cloistered in the Vatican monastery where he has resided since May 2013, two months after making his resignation effective. papacy.
Since then Ratzinger has rarely broken the silence he promised his successor and is accompanied by his secretary, Georg Ganswein.and by some collaborators who assist him on a day-to-day basis.
Regarding his current state of health, Monsignor Ganswein recently revealed that “He is weak physically but his mind works very well”in an interview with the weekly oggi last April 6.
“He is methodical and his days haven’t changed lately. Sure, his movements are slow and he needs to rest more. In the morning he concelebrates mass at 7:30 and then listens to music on the sofa”, confessed his closest collaborator.
Even, he assured, he has returned to take walks in the Vatican Gardens, where the monastery where he lives confined is erected.
In 2020 his health caused concern after he was diagnosed with herpes on his face “painful but not serious”, as confirmed in August of that year by the Holy See, maintaining that this situation of the pope emeritus was not “particularly worrying”.
Benedict XVI, the first Pope to resign from the pontificate since the time of Gregory XII, at the beginning of the 15th centuryhas only left the leonine walls on one occasion since then, in June 2020, to visit his inseparable brother in Regensburg Georg Ratzingerseriously ill.
A month later, in July of that year, the older brother of the pope emeritus, also a priest, died at the age of 96.
Francisco has always expressed his affection for Benedict XVIwhom he has described as a “wise grandfather” and whom he calls or visits on designated dates.
Both staged the exceptional coincidence of two living pontiffs on December 8, 2015, embracing each other in Saint Peter’s Basilica for the beginning of the Jubilee of Mercy.
(With information from EFE)
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