Benedict is Fading UPDATED Fr. Lombardi Denies

20130410-080304.jpgDamian Thompson writes what we all suspected: our beloved Benedict XVI is fading fast. In the video with Francis, he appeared very frail and, in my opinion, nearly blind. Here’s what Thompson writes:

I think all of us were distressed by the fragility of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI when we saw him greet his successor, Pope Francis. The footage was almost too painful to watch. Now, according to the excellent Fr Ray Blake, a Spanish newspaper says he is suffering from something “very severe”, and that “we won’t have us with him for very much longer”. His condition has apparently continued to decline. I thought twice about repeating this, but I’m sure Catholics and others would wish to pray for the man many of us regard as the most inspiring pope of modern times. No pontiff for centuries has written and preached so brilliantly about the relationships between liturgy, evangelism and the shape of history. If only he had been a younger man when he was elected to the chair of St Peter!

Pray for his comfort and peace at the last.

I consider myself blessed to have lived at the same time as this great man. Although I will miss him, his work for us will not end as he brings our prayers before the heavenly Father.

UPDATE: 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.”

For Fr. Lombardi to say that Benedict “does not have any illness” after the video we’ve already seen–and the fact of his resignation–seems like overstatement. Let us hope that whatever the case, Pope Benedict is at peace and comfortable, and let us continue to keep praying for that peace and comfort.

About Thomas L. McDonald

Thomas L. McDonald writes about technology, theology, history, games, and shiny things. Details of his rather uneventful life as a professional writer and magazine editor can be found in the About tab.

  • MaryMargaret

    May God bless and keep you, dear Grandpapa Benedict. Everyone, please pray for Benedict’s older brother, Father(Monsignor?) Georg Ratzinger.

  • victor

    I had suspected that the “he’ll have all this free time now to write more books!” crowd was being a little overly optimistic, and this is very sad news indeed. He’s given us so much, even at the end of his life here on Earth. I doubt he needs them, but he has my prayers.

  • Thomas L. McDonald

    No, I never thought that was happening. He didn’t resign so he could kick back and relax: he resigned because he knew he was dying.

  • Jessica

    “we won’t have us with him for very much longer” (originally stated in article)

    should be :

    “we won’t have him with us for very much longer” (unless there is something we all don’t know!)

    God’s hand is over all; what a blessing to have such wonderful popes in my own lifetime.

  • victor

    Yeah, it wasn’t you, it was Other Prominent Catholics (whom I shant name).

    There were many gifts in his resignation, but I think one of the greatest — to the living faithful, anyway — was the joy of being able to elect and celebrate a new Pope without the sadness and grief of just having lost a great man so immediate in our minds.

  • Dan Marsh

    We’ve had two consecutive exorcists as popes, during a remarkable turnaround in the health of the Church. (The sex-abuse crisis peaked in 1978, and was 98% gone by 1990.) I’ve been kinda hoping that Pope Benedict has been teaching the trade to his successor.

  • Laura Lowder

    Thomas – Apparently the very hostile comment I was Replying to was removed while I was typing?

  • Thomas L. McDonald

    I think see I see what happened: I flushed “Mike Bizarro” of “I’m More Catholic Than You (And I’m Also Completely Nuts).com” down the spamhole, so his prattlings shall not darken our eyeballs again. I’m cutting the last couple comments since, without Crazy Mike, they don’t make sense. A LOT of people are coming to this post and I don’t want things sour or confusing. Thanks for understanding. I’d rather keep the focus on praying for Papa.

  • Peggy Smith

    I knew something was not right with our Pope Benedict XVI months ago while watching the Christmas mass etc., I pray that God and with the intercessory of our Mother Mary grant this great servant of the Church much peace and comfort in these his last days.

  • JP

    You thought wrong. I am never distressed to be witness to God’s gift of life unfolding before my eyes. Holy Father Benedict serves God with every breath he takes> He perfectly knows life is short and eternity is forever. May the Lord make His face shine upon him…

  • Thomas L. McDonald

    Let me just say this one again. I don’t know the real state of the Holy Father’s health, but it’s a fair assumption that it’s not strong. We know that much from what we can observe.

    This post was not indeed as a death watch or a place to spout, but to alert people to his condition so they may pray for him. At the very least, we know he is ill.

    Rad trads, atheists, anti-Catholics, and Benedict-haters who post anything negative here will have their IDs added to the spam filter. I’m in no mood.

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  • Loretta Shalosky

    Benedict is a shy man, and very humble. Dying on display before the whole world, when dying is such an intimate and personal and private matter for him, would be so torturous. We have had a wonderful example of courage in the face of death from JP2, and now we have a wonderful example of private preparation for the end in Benedict. Both are beautiful. Both are needed in our world today. I am praying for Benedicts final time to be peaceful. God bless him and thank God for him.

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  • Cathy R.

    But where is the video?

  • DoubtingThomas

    EVERYBODY! Let’s stop freaking out until the ONE source on this is corroborated by someone, I don’t know, from the VATICAN! (That being said, I will be praying for PapaB, as I have been since his resignation)

    [TLMcD: Actually, this was the first comment I've let through that has a "freaking out" tone. Everyone knows what the situation is: we saw the video with Francis in which he was a shadow of the man he'd been when we'd last seen him. The story is what it is: a sick man is reported to be growing sicker, so pray for him. That's it. Who's freaking out?]

  • Thomas L. McDonald

    Sorry, folks, but comment moderation is going on for the duration. I have a Moral Theology assignment and I can’t bird-dog the comboxes today.

  • Dale Price

    Yeah, the fact he couldn’t complete his encyclical on faith was a clear signal. I hope he is comfortable and cared for.

  • Guest

    And yet, Thomas, that was not what the faithful were told was it? We were told he was lacking the physical and mental energy to continue in such a demanding position. It was specifically said that his resignation was not due to any new physical condition (which would include a significant worsening of an existing condition leading the Pope to “know he was dying”). I think his resignation was very controversial quite because there was no indication he WAS dying (anymore than any 80+ yr old is dying) so if that info was kept from the faithful I think it was wrong to do so.

    However, I will certainly be praying for him and hoping his health is not as bad as it might look.

  • Mary Tremonti

    God Bless him

  • marye

    Whatever happens from here, may the Lord bless and keep our beloved Benedict, and may Our Lady of Perpetual Help give him comfort and peace.

  • Theodore Seeber

    I can’t call old age in his case a new condition, and his repeated visits to the tomb of Pope Celestine V tell me that he’s been contemplating this almost since the moment he was elected.

  • Fabio P.Barbieri

    (But I still feel the sobs coming. You will be missed, dear Pope Benedict. Pray for us.)

  • Melanie B

    While I’m praying for Pope Benedict of course and agree I was shocked at how frail he looked, the linked article which cites an unnamed Spanish newspaper as source of some heretofore unknown information strikes me as rather gossipy. Many European newspapers are little better than our National Enquirer and it just seems like so much hearsay.

  • victor

    This is true. We’re all dying, aren’t we? It’s just a question of when.

  • Roxanne Ende

    God Bless, Pope Benedict. May your days be peaceful and comfortable as you are with God, Our Father, in thoughts, words, and actions.

  • Bob B.

    Prayers for Benedict are definitely in order. Lord knows he has been praying so hard for all of us for all these years!

  • Guest

    That may be, but that doesn’t address my main point that it was specifically said/implied that he was not resigning because he was dying. Perhaps you think that’s nitpicking given his age but I don’t and so did/do a heck of a lot of other people who were stunned at the reason for his resignation, unprecedented in 600 yrs!. It led to a lot of very negative supposing about his motivations that would not have happened if an expected terminal condition had been given as the reason. I’m not saying the reason given WAS an untruth, but if it was – Oh boy.

  • Fr. Anthony May

    I too thought his Holiness looked much more frail since he retired. As a person who is very dear to me, I have never stopped praying for him and will continue to. If it be God’s Will, may Benedict complete everything he had wished to when he retired. I know whenever he dies, there is no worry as he will greet another pope, Blessed John Paul II. May God bless him and keep him in the embrace of his compassion and love.

  • marye

    Believe me, I am hoping (and praying) that the news is an unfounded rumor, and that we have Benedict with us for years to come. AND that he is able to do some more writing. That would be the best outcome of all.

  • Heather

    Here is the Vatican YouTube link to the meeting between Popes:

  • Marye

    I apologize for the double post, but before I forget–next Tuesday (the 16th) is Benedict’s birthday. (He and my late father were born on the same day, April 16th, 1927). He will be 86, and so we may wish to do something special to show our affection and respect for him.

  • Yae

    My prayers and my love for Papa Benedict have never ceased since he left office. Watching the joy radiate from his face as he met with Papa Francis was just wonderful. Yes, he probably is declining, as nature takes it course, but let’s trust our Lord Jesus to take care of it and to trust Papa Benedict is well looked after and kept comfortable.

  • Parella

    Knew the poor soul was dying a while back. Same age as my father who died last year this time. He has been exhausted and could see that in his face and eyes. No older person should have to traypse around the world in that frail state. Was barbaric. Thank God he had the wisdom and courage to step down and allow himself some dignity and peace.

    You’re on your way, Benedict. Don’t be afraid. They’ll be waiting for you.

  • Rich

    We always think someone holy like Benedict does not need our prayers, but he does — imagine what a catch he would be for the devil. At the time of dying, when one is weak, all kinds of temptations against faith can come. Please pray hard for him!

  • Susan Fox

    I think Pope Benedict set a wonderful example for future popes who will feel free to resign if necessary. In his case it sounds like he’s dying. But if some future pope begins to suspect he’s losing his faculties (Alzheimer’s, etc.), he’ll have a modern example to follow. The whole thing just seems so much God’s plan. The last three popes, including the current one, have all been such powerful witnesses and teachers. We have been truly blessed. I give God thanks. God bless you. Susan Fox

  • Sally