Vatican spokesman denies report that Benedict XVI is ill

Vatican City, Apr 10, 2013 / 12:28 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi says that contrary to a report in the Spanish daily El Mundo, the Bishop-emeritus of Rome, Benedict XVI, is not suffering from any illness.

The report in El Mundo by Rocio Galvan quotes statements made by Spanish Vaticanista Paloma Gomez-Borrero in Madrid during the presentation of her most recent book.  

“Benedict XVI has something very serious. In 15 days his physical condition has deteriorated tremendously, that’s the news I have,” Gomez-Borrero said.

In comments to CNA on April 10, however, Fr. Lombardi underscored that Benedict XVI “does not have any illness” and that “this has been certified by his doctors.”

He said he was saddened by Gomez-Borrero's comments and that the Spanish journalist, whom he has known for many years, “has begun to speculate after seeing images of a tired Benedict.”

“But to say that he has an illness is foolish. There is no basis for this,” the spokesman said.

“As we all know, Benedict XVI led a very engaged pontificate at his age, and therefore he is enduring the aches and pains of an elderly person who has worked very hard,” Fr. Lombardi added.

Benedict XVI was Pope for eight years and resigned just shy of his 86th birthday. During his pontificate, he made the same number of trips that Blessed John Paul II did in same span of time but at a much older age.

He currently resides at the papal residence of Castel Gandolfo but will return to the Vatican to live once renovations at the former monastery of Mater Ecclesia are completed in May.

Pope Francis has visited Benedict XVI and spoken to him on several occasions by telephone since his election. The two maintain a cordial and close relationship.

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