Case of severely painful facial shingles

Benedict XVI “Seriously Ill” since Return from Bavaria, biographer reports after meeting with him

Benedict XVI on Sep. 22, 2012

[LAST UPDATE: 03-AUG-2020 17:07 UTC]

The German regional newspaper Passauer Neue Presse reports this morning that the 93-year-old “Pope Emeritus” Benedict XVI (Fr. Joseph Ratzinger), is “seriously ill” and that he has designated his final resting place. The source for this report is highly credible: It is Peter Seewald, Ratzinger’s long-time biographer and interview partner.

Seewald told the newspaper that ever since his return to Rome after a brief visit to his dying brother Georg this past June, Benedict has been suffering from facial shingles (Gesichtsrose), which is “accompanied by bouts of severe pain.” At the same time, the Ratzinger biographer reports, an optimistic Benedict noted that he might once again return to writing once his condition improves.

Seewald also relates that the “Pope Emeritus” is “extremely frail” at this point, and his voice is “barely audible”. In his “Spiritual Testament”, to be published after his death, Ratzinger reportedly designates the former grave of “Pope” John Paul II in the crypt of St. Peter’s as his final resting place.

Here are a few links to other reports:

The report by Catholic News Agency above is incorrect in claiming that Benedict’s illness is a bacterial infection. The German newspaper report explicitly says it is viral. Apparently the author confused facial shingles with erysipelas, both of which could translate as Gesichtrose in German.

Meanwhile, the Vatican press office has weighed in on the matter:

The Press Office of the Holy See confirmed for the Catholic herald that Pope emeritus Benedict XVI’s health condition is less serious than earlier reports gave it to be.

Citing Benedict’s personal secretary, Archbishop Georg Ganswein, the Press Office told the Herald: “The condition of the pope emeritus’ health does not raise any particular preoccupation, beyond those of a 93-year-old man who is recovering from a more acute phase of an illness that is painful, but not grave.”

(Christopher Altieri, “Vatican: Benedict XVI ‘recovering’, conditions ‘not grave'”, Catholic Herald, Aug. 3, 2020)

Seewald had just met with Benedict in the Vatican this past Saturday in order to give him a copy of the newly-released biography, Benedikt XVI.: Ein Leben (“Benedict XVI: A Life”), which is set to be released in English in November of this year, under the title Benedict XVI: The Biography. We recently presented a historical tidbit from this new work in our post: “New Biography of Benedict XVI confirms: Ratzinger recognized as ‘Dangerous Modernist’ early on”.

Benedict’s brother, Fr. Georg, had died July 1. In our post reporting on his passing, we noted: “As he is 93 and the passing of his brother will surely weaken him greatly, it may be surmised that Benedict XVI, the last surviving member of the Ratzinger family, will now himself pass away very soon.”

Pray for Joseph Ratzinger. He has an enormous amount of guilt on his soul. He is one of the individuals personally responsible for the shape, direction, and overall state of the Vatican II Sect today, and with it, the loss of countless souls.

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