Last week, Pope Benedict XVI announced. (85) his resignation as Pope - because he was too old and too weak to feel for the performance of his duties.
Since then, there has been repeated speculation about the health of the Holy Father. He had no acute illness, says the Vatican. But now, Pope biographer Peter Seewald (58) in "Focus" talks about his last meeting with Benedict a few weeks ago, in the Apostolic Palace
The Pope expert: "His hearing had diminished. The left eye did not see," He continued," the body was emaciated, so that the tailors had difficulties with providing appropriate new clothing. "
Observations, which are also made by BILD Vatican correspondent Albert Link:
" The signs of weakness are obvious. For more than a year, close associates of Benedict XVI have known how he diminishes. Besides the problems with eye and ear, also the memory is in decline. It would seem that he could no longer remember at meetings. "
However: "The problems with the eye are far from new, they started 20 years ago, when he suddenly after a student meeting in Germany felt a white haze in front of the eye. The eye clinic told him it would have been better if he had come twelve hours earlier. A close friend of the then cardinal believes the haze was the result of an unremarked small stroke.
Since then, they say, the future Pope had to wear glasses with very different strengths.
On top of that, the Pope himself cannot cope with the stairs to the main altar in St. Peter's, without help. The newspaper "La Stampa" reported that after a nocturnal fall on his Central American trip almost a year ago Benedict XVI decided to resign, but this was, however, denied by the Vatican.
Surprisingly, last week came the news that Benedict only about three months ago had a heart operation.
Vatican spokesman Father Lombardi immediately tried to calm things down. During the procedure, only the battery of the pacemaker had been exchanged. "A routine intervention," said Lombardi. The OP has nothing to do with the resignation of the Pope!
But unknown to others, Benedict received a pacemaker when he was a Cardinal.
Farewell General Audience
On 27 February, the pontiff will hold a general audience of the faithful. 150,000 people are expected in Rome.
At the weekend for the penultimate Angelus ("The angel of the Lord ...") of Benedict many believers flocked to St. Peter's Square.
After his retirement Benedict XVI will retire to a monastery in the Vatican City State. He wants to lead a life of prayer and meditation.