The genetics of Momhood.
Let me tell you about my mother.
She is 87 and she gets confused.
She gets confused a lot.
For a couple of years there, every day was a challenge just to keep her alive. We rushed her to the hospital several times so they could drag her back from the edge. Now, her physical health has stabilized, but her mental health is going downhill, a little bit at a time.
She reminds me quite often that I took her car away from her. She’s lost that sense of time that lets the rest of us grieve a loss and then move on, leaving it in our past. When she remembers that she doesn’t have a car, the indignation is as fresh for her as the day it happened. The day I took that car was a sad day for me, too. When she tells me, as she does at least once every day, that I “took” it from her, it re-opens the pain in me, as well.
Other than the car memories, my mother is as sweet as a small child. She accepts whatever I suggest as the best thing and she trusts me the same way my children did when they were little. Like them, she talks almost non-stop, prating along about things that happened, or didn’t happen but that she thinks happened, 60, 70 or even 80 years ago.
For my part, I’ve fallen into the same u-huh, u-huh, answers that I gave my babies when they chattered to me as they “helped” me wash dishes or plant flowers or whatever. I do a lot of the same things with her that I did with them. We sat in the backyard yesterday and counted the blue-jays and the robins to determine which are the most numerous.
The differences are that when I told them something, they remembered it later that day. Mama doesn’t. That, and the fact that my babies were moving forward toward independent life, while Mama is moving inexorably away from independent life and then on to the next life on the other side of this one.
Forgetfulness is a blessing of sorts. At the beginning of this journey, she knew when she forgot and it upset her. Now, she no longer remembers that she doesn’t remember. She’s much happier this way.
I never remind her that she’s asked me that same question several times. I just answer her again. I don’t chide her about calling me 10 times in 15 minutes when I’m at work. I just talk to her each time as if it was the first call; because for her, it is.
I love my mother. I always have. But in some ways, she’s more precious to me now than she ever was before. She is so sweet, and so good. The pretensions we hide our real selves behind are gone from her. Her personality is stripped down to the unself-conscious realness of its bare self. What that is in my mother is a person who is all love, all generosity, trusting and deeply, profoundly innocent.
Caring for her during these years of her slow good-bye has given me the chance to see my mother as she really is without any cover. What I’ve seen is that she is a wonderful person, all the way through.
This is precious time, these years with her. I would not trade them for anything. There are moments, every once in a while, when I miss who she used to be. I would love to just sit down and have a talk with Mama as she was. But that can’t be and I know it, so I run my mental fingers over the weave of the thought and then fold it up, put it away and go back to the reality of the sweet baby Mama I still have.
Old age is not a tragedy. It most certainly is not a waste or a burden to those who aren’t there yet. It is a gift and a treasure; a phase of life like any other. My mother is going through a slow and beautiful passage from this life to the next one. It make take her years yet. Her family is a very long-lived tribe. Or, it may end suddenly, at any time.
Whichever way that happens, I know that she and her ultimate future are in God’s loving hands. I only thank Him for giving me this present time to love and cherish her now. It is, like she is, golden.
What do prefrontal lobotomy and sex change surgery have in common from a scientific viewpoint?
How are prefrontal lobotomy and sex change surgery different?
Prefrontal lobotomy was never marketed as a “right” for mentally ill people.
Prefrontal lobotomy is one of the grand dragons from the stone knives and bear skin beds era of mental health care. Back in the bad old days, doctors had the habit of “treating” people with mental health problems (or sometimes, just behavioral problems) by sticking what was essentially an ice pick through the top of their eye socket and into their brains and swishing it around.
The result? “Difficult” patients were ever so much nicer now that a big part of the prefrontal lobes of their brains had been disconnected. So … bingo! … doctors had a “cure.”
Today’s prefrontal lobotomy is to “treat” physically normal, healthy people who suffer from a compulsion to mutilate themselves by cutting off their sex organs with surgery that acts out their compulsive illness and actually does remove their sex organs. The follow-up is to put a cosmetic surgery placebo version of the sex organs of their opposite sex on the wound. This plays into their mental illness rather than treats it. It also subjects them to life-long, massive doses of hormones and permanent mutilation.
The major difference between the two “treatments” is that sex change surgery is being promoted as a “human right” by people in the LGBT community and has been taken up as a cause by the brain-dead politically correct media. I am talking about the mutilation of physically healthy and normal people. I am not talking about treatments for people who are born with mixed genitalia. Whenever I write about this topic, I get a smattering of comments calling me a few names for having the temerity to say what is obvious to anyone with a shred of intellectual and moral honesty: This is medical malpractice.
People who suffer from this compulsion are not the beneficiaries of this new trendy. They are its victims. They need real treatment that is based on something approaching science, not politically-motivated mutilation.
I used this analogy in another post: If I went to a doctor and asked him/her to cut off my healthy legs and replace them with prosthesis, they would call for a psych evaluation.
Why then do we behave as if a compulsion to cut off one’s genitals is somehow a healthy impulse?
This tawdry business of faux science enabling the mutilation of healthy people has moved into a sinister new arena. As usual, the brain dead trendies in the politically correct press are hyping it as an advance for human rights.
The new politically correct is to mutilate children with sex change surgeries and massive doses of hormones. A shameful article in the Boston Globe, titled Led by the child who simply knew promoted this horrific form of child abuse for all it was worth. For instance, here’s the summary sell-line that tops the article:
The twin boys were identical in every way but one. Wyatt was a girl to the core, and now lives as one, with the help of a brave, loving family and a path-breaking doctor’s care.
There’s a photo of these twins below the sell line and the caption for the photo reads: “Nicole Maines, 14, her twin brother, Jonas, and their parents have traveled a long, trying road.”
The article itself adds:
… now a groundbreaking clinic at Children’s Hospital in Boston – one of the few of its kind in the world – helps families deal with the issues, both emotional and medical, that arise from having a transgender child – one who doesn’t identify with the gender he or she was born into.
The Children’s Hospital Gender Management Services Clinic can, using hormone therapies, halt puberty in transgender children, blocking the development of secondary sexual characteristics – a beard, say, or breasts – that can make the eventual transition to the other gender more difficult, painful, and costly.
Founded in 2007 by endocrinologist Norman Spack and urologist David Diamond, the clinic – known as GeMS and modeled on a Dutch program – is the first pediatric academic program in the Western Hemisphere that evaluates and treats pubescent transgenders. A handful of other pediatric centers in the United States are developing similar programs, some started by former staffers at GeMS.
It was in that clinic, under Spack’s care, that Nicole and her family finally began to have hope for her future. (Read the rest here.)
This fine piece of objective journalism won the GLAD Award for Outstanding Newspaper Article for 2012. The GLAD award “honors outstanding media images of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community that inspire change.”
We have another article from the Mail Online describing how the lesbian parents of an 11-year-old boy are putting him through sex change mutilation. This poor little boy, who has started calling himself Tammy instead of Thomas, is undergoing hormone block treatment by means of a hormone suppressant that is implanted in his upper arm. The purpose of this “treatment” is “to stop him from going through puberty as a boy.”
Psychiatrists “diagnosed” this little boy with gender identity disorder when he was seven, after he had threatened gender mutilation on himself. I guess no one thought that this might be a mental health problem and that it might, possibly, be caused by his lesbian mothers. Nope. No child abuse here. This is obviously “gender identity disorder,” and the “treatment” is to mutilate this little boy’s body, as well as his psyche.
From the MailOnline:
The mothers say that one of the first things Thomas told them when he learned sign language aged three – because of a speech impediment – was, ‘I am a girl’.
At age seven, after threatening genital mutilation on himself, psychiatrists diagnosed Thomas with gender identity disorder. By the age of eight, he began transitioning.
This summer, he started taking hormone-blocking drugs, which will stop him from experiencing puberty.
The two mothers, who were “married” by a rabbi in 1990, insist that their sexuality has nothing to do with this. Which, I would guess, in today’s trendy, politically correct world, settles it.
When I was first elected for the very first time, back in the dark ages of 1980, a seasoned legislator remarked to me, “There are two groups of people that you will find you can do anything to in this place and no one will stop you: Prisoners and children.”
Thanks to court interventions, that is no longer as true of prisoners. However, in the case of children it has grown much, much worse. We kill children with impunity right up to the moment of their birth, and sometimes afterwards, as well. We have degraded the public schools into propaganda mills for sexually disturbed people to teach their view of life to the young. We push dangerous contraceptives on young girls. We destroy our children’s homes with divorce. We commodify their lives with designer babies and then harvest the bodies of young women for eggs to keep that cycle going.
And now, we are pushing the idea that we can submit young children to dangerous, mutilating “sex changes” because, hey, it’s politically correct and you’ll be called a few names if you object to it.
Ok. Let the name-calling start here.
Sex change surgery on healthy people is not treatment. It’s medical malpractice.
Sex change on children is child abuse and child mutilation. Doctors who do it should lose their license to practice medicine and be sent to prison. Parents who push for it should lose custody of their children, and if they go forward with it, they also should be sent to prison.
No child should be mutilated for politically correctness.
Call me all the names you want. I don’t care.
For further reading, check out Sex Reassignment Surgery for Children? Two Words … CHILD ABUSE
This video was produced by Reach America, an education organization based in Coeur d”Alene, Idaho.
Gary Brown, founder of the organization, said that one of the factors that inspired him to create this video, which is named The Thaw, happened last year when a public school teacher asked students to write an essay title, “I Believe,” without using the names God or Jesus in their papers.
Masha Gessen is the author of The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin. She also writes for The New Republic, New Statesman, Slate, Vanity Fair and US News and World Report.
It made sense that she would be asked to participate in the Sydney Writer’s Festival in Sydney, Australia.
Masha Gessen is also a gay activist who has been a member of the board of directors for the Moscow LGBT organization Triangle. So it also made sense that they slotted her for a debate titled “Why Get Married When You Can Be Happy?
Evidently, Ms Gessen is not one to mince words. While other gay activists say things like what she said in that debate in private, they go the other way in public discussion.
Here’s what she had to say (emphasis mine):
It’s a no-brainer that we should have the right to marry, but I also think equally that it’s a no-brainer that the institution of marriage should not exist [cheers from the audience].
That causes my brain some trouble. And part of why it causes me trouble is because fighting for gay marriage generally involves lying about what we are going to do with marriage when we get there—because we lie that the institution of marriage is not going to change, and that is a lie. The institution of marriage is going to change, and it should change. And again, I don’t think it should exist. And I don’t like taking part in creating fictions about my life. That’s sort of not what I had in mind when I came out thirty years ago. I have three kids who have five parents, more or less, and I don’t see why they shouldn’t have five parents legally….
[After my divorce,] I met my new partner, and she had just had a baby, and that baby’s biological father is my brother, and my daughter’s biological father is a man who lives in Russia, and my adopted son also considers him his father. So the five parents break down into two groups of three…. And really, I would like to live in a legal system that is capable of reflecting that reality. And I don’t think that’s compatible with the institution of marriage.
These statements have been all over the internet. The question is, what to they really mean?
If they had come from the mouth of a nutcase with no influence (who probably wouldn’t have been engaged in this debate in the first place) then they wouldn’t mean much of anything. Everybody’s got a mouth and most of us say really stupid things from time to time.
However, this statement didn’t come from a nutcase with no influence. It came from a writer who is entrenched in major media outlets and who writes a great deal about LGBT issues, including, presumably, gay marriage.
What that means is that Ms Gessen is not just a person with an opinion. She’s an opinion shaper. She has a lot to do with what people in the world read and thus, how they think about issues like this.
If this is the agenda she’s following, I think it’s reasonable to think that other people in these same media outlets agree with that agenda and are pushing it also. I’ve written before that I think the media is not just in support of gay marriage, it is hard-selling it to us.
I believe that writers like this one, with agendas like this, are part of that process.
Is the secret motivation behind gay marriage a plot to destroy marriage? I’m not sure that matters.
In the final analysis, it might as well be their agenda, since it will be the result of re-writing marriage laws to pretend that there are no differences between gay couples and a man and a woman. This entire movement is based on this absurd lie.
One question that people who think the way Ms Gessen says that she does don’t even try to answer is whether civilization can survive the destruction of home and family and the complete commodification of women’s bodies and of children.
This is an audio of Ms Gessen, making these statements.
I once was a United Methodist.
After my conversion experience, I had no idea what to do next. No one “led” me to Jesus except Jesus Himself. So, I waited around for a month, waiting for this Being who was keeping company with me to guide me.
When it came into my mind to go to St Luke’s Methodist Church, I got up the next Sunday and went. That was the beginning of nine fruitful years in which I began to walk the path that has led me to where I am now. I don’t remember ever, not once in all those nine years, when the question of gay marriage even came up. That was long ago and this is now. Back then, the debates were all about communist insurgency in Central America and abortion.
My main source of dissatisfaction with that church wasn’t political. It was that the Church left me hungry. I think this hunger is the key to the story I’m about to relate. A few weeks ago, the Green Street United Methodist Church, which is in North Carolina, released a statement through Equality NC saying that their Leadership Council had asked church ministers to “join others who refuse to sign any State marriage licenses until this right is granted to same sex couples.”
I am no longer a United Methodist, and whether or if they decide to provide the sacrament of marriage to their members is their call. But I have to say that I think this is just plain stupid. Baptizing, marrying, burying is what Christian churches of every denomination do.
However, as I said, it’s not my call. If the people in that church want to skip their weddings and co-habit in order to make a political point, so be it. I wouldn’t exactly call this following Christian teaching, but, hey, it’s not my church.
And that is the point. It’s not my church. I was an active member of a large United Methodist church for nine years. I taught Sunday school, delivered meals on wheels to the elderly and sat in my amen-saying corner every Sunday. I got a lot from the experience. It was a great church for taking someone like I was when I joined and turning her slowly and gently toward a closer walk with the Lord.
I walked into that church the first time still spiritually wet behind the ears from being born again. I had just experienced the Presence of God close up and personal and there was not a shred of doubt anywhere in me that the Who I had encountered was real. I was awash in the indescribable joy of that encounter, the love that Presence poured into me and the new guidance that was coming at me from this Being who I didn’t have a name for.
I learned later that the Being was the Holy Spirit. I also learned that a lot of things I was doing and thought were A-OK, were, in fact, sins. But at that time, all I knew for sure was what I’d learned from encountering the Living God first hand.
That was actually quite a lot; enough to build a life on. But the points of religious practice, Christian teaching and Scripture with which to frame this life were totally missing in me.
I began the process of learning the Gospels and what being a Christian means at St Luke’s. I can honestly say that they never led me down any dark path the way this happenin’ church in North Carolina is doing with its people.
However, the foundation for that bad leadership was there at St Luke’s, even if it wasn’t active. I got a great deal from my time at the church, but it always left me hungry. I wanted more Jesus than they gave me. There was a warmed-over quality to things there. It wasn’t bad teaching. It was tepid teaching; as if Easter really was about egg hunts and new dresses.
I know that this church equipped good people to face the exigencies of life. I saw them do it. I saw their faith sustain them through trying times.
But it left me hungry.
I think this stand-offish approach to Christianity is often open to the abuse of letting the hard teachings of the Gospels go slip-sliding away. I am not pointing out the United Methodists when I say this. I think every church and every denomination faces the question Jesus asked the disciples when His followers walked away from Him: Will you leave me too?
Jesus asks us for our whole selves. We can’t preach to Him about the latest social fads and expect Him to excuse us from our vocation to live the Gospels in full, without drawing safety margins around the parts that make us unpopular or force us to sacrifice.
When a church — any church — teaches its people that the wide way is the path to heaven, they are lying to them. When they use their prophetic and moral voice to claim that sin is not sin but is instead a positive good, they are pied pipers leading others to destruction.
I know something about this. I once thought and taught that legal abortion was a positive good. I know from personal experience that you can not undo the harm that you do later on.
I would feel sorry for the leadership of this church if they weren’t doing so much harm to their congregants. They are teaching and preaching a false Gospel. It’s as simple as that.
As I said, it’s not my call to decide whether or not some little church in North Carolina should refuse the sacrament of marriage to its congregants in order to make a political statement. It’s their call, and it appears they’ve made it.
However, there is nothing to stop me from saying that what they are doing is, at best, plain stupid.
It doesn’t matter what economic system a country uses, the “haves” inevitably accrue power to the disadvantage of the “have-nots.”
Communist utopianism promised a world where this did not happen. But the actual outcome is that communism, by its very nature, vests so much power in government that the abuse of the people it governs is built into it.
The utopian fantasy of unregulated capitalism is that everyone will have an equal chance to build a heaven of his or her own. What happens in actual practice is that those who get there first accrue so much power for themselves that they can and do pervert government to their ends, destroying their competitors and shutting down opportunity for everyone but themselves.
Democracy’s utopian fantasy is that the people will be able to prevent either of these abuses by their use of their power to replace those who govern through elections. In reality, those who “have” can afford to pay for the vast expenses of modern-day campaigning, thus putting their puppets in office and subverting the power of the people.
The reasons for these failures don’t lie in the economic systems or forms of government themselves so much as in their naive assumptions about human nature. You cannot build a just society without taking into consideration the fallen nature of human beings.
I don’t know of any theory of human interaction that even begins to explain the data of thousands of years of human society except the theory of original sin. It fits our human reality like the proverbial glove.
Pope Francis preached on the dignity of work a few days ago. The occasion was the Feast of St Joseph the Worker. Work is an essential component to a fulfilled and happy life. Work is the way we master the world and advance our civilization. It gives shape to our days and provides us with the goods that are necessary for our survival in this life.
Jesus worked. He was God in human flesh, but He did not disdain to work at the humble craft of carpenter. That imbues work with a dignity that lifts it above the curse of Eden. Work that is shaped by our humanity and that serves our inborn need to create and grow civilization, does far more than sustain our bodily needs. It is the mechanism by which we shape a better us, and a better world.
However work that is placed on people like a yoke on an ox is an assault to their dignity as people made in the image and likeness of the living God. Likewise, avoidance of work to live off others, whether that means idling away the years on the largesse of parents, or living on the government dole — and I include many corporations in this as well as individuals — is also an assault on human dignity that wastes human potential.
Pope Francis spoke about a recent tragedy in which many people were killed because of an employer’s disregard for their safety. Profits, he said, can never be more important than human beings.
That is the Christian viewpoint. It is also one of those points where many stalwart supporters of Church teachings back up and start arguing.
There are fault lines along which contemporary Christians try to bargain with God and get out of obeying what the Gospels make clear they should do. Almost always, these fault lines occur at points where the Church teaches about the dignity of human beings.
Whether the question is gay marriage or abortion; profits that kill or pornography, that answer from those who want to do these things is always the same. I am right and God is wrong; I will do as I want, they proclaim. Many times, the people who are so arrogantly trying to teach morality to God are the same ones who wear out their index fingers pointing out other people’s sins.
Self righteousness is not righteousness.
Every single one of us, me included, needs to be reminded of that on a daily basis.
From the Vatican:
We’ve got more “evolution” going on in Congress.
In yet another poll-reading flip-flop, Congressman Paul Ryan now says that he supports gay adoption. Ryan was last fall’s vice-presidential candidate — and the hope of values voters — on the Republican ticket. One of his first first actions in that race was to weaken his stand on abortion. Congressman Ryan voted against allowing homosexuals to adopt children in the past, but that, as they say, was then.
I doubt very much that he’s evolved on issues such as corporate welfare and taxing the middle class to give to the rich. I’ll bet he still has never met a tank or a gun, a bomb or a war he didn’t like and that his desire to raid social security is as strong today as it was yesterday.
My quibble here isn’t so much with the Congressman’s opinion itself as that he clearly can’t be trusted to stick with what he says are his values concerning so-called moral issues. Of course, he’s not alone in this. There’s so much “evolving” going on in the political sector that it’s dizzying.
Maybe these elected officials should just give a proxy for their votes to Gallup polls and save themselves the trouble of going in to work.
The forum was a town-hall meeting in his home state of Wisconsin. Asked a question on gay rights, Ryan said that in 1999 or 2000, he had voted against allowing adoptions by same-sex couples in the District of Columbia, but that he’d be a “yea” on that issue if it came up today.
“I do believe that if there are children who are orphans who do not have a loving person or couple – I think if a person wants to love and raise a child, they ought to be able to do that. Period. I would vote that way. I do believe marriage is between a man and a woman; we just respectfully disagree on that issue,” Ryan said.
The Wisconsin lawmaker elaborated a bit on this position in remarks to a local television reporter, saying he’d felt that way for years, but he’s never talked about it publicly. He gave no indication if a defining moment or event caused the change of heart. (Read the rest here.)
Should pastors who preach against gay marriage be allowed to speak at the National Day of Prayer?
I have never attended the National Day of Prayer services here in Oklahoma. I can’t pray in public. When I have to stand for public prayer — as I often do — I don’t feel God. All I hear is the echo chamber of my own thoughts. A lot of times, if the matter is grave, I pray my own private prayer while the public prayer runs as background noise. The National Day of Prayer just isn’t my cup of tea.
I never gave the National Day of Prayer much thought until atheist cranks started trying to make it illegal. Then I realized that while I don’t attend because it’s not my personal religious flavor, I do think that it’s up to Congress, and not a smattering of nobody-can-do-anything-I-don’t-agree-with zealots whether such an event should happen.
So, if the topic is the National Day of Prayer, my reaction is going to be along the direction that those who want to have this day can have it rather than anything based on my personal plans to participate. I don’t intend to change my plans for this year’s National Day of Prayer. I won’t attend the event. However, if the cranks keep on cranking, I may change my mind and show up next year, not for prayer so much as for solidarity with my Christian brothers and sisters.
Once again, the war is being forced upon us.
This year’s National Day of Prayer is receiving flak from a new quarter. Rather than just the usual atheist crankery aimed at driving Christianity from the public square, we now have the LGBTQ crowd. They don’t want to end the event. They want to chose who leads it.
The Human Rights Campaign is seeking to stop participation by a pastor who has preached against gay marriage, or, as they call it, “equality.” They are asking that Pastor Greg Laurie not be allowed to lead the event.
So, the question arises: Should pastors who preach against gay marriage be allowed to speak at the National Day of Prayer?
As nutty as it sounds, the Human Rights Campaign, seems to say no.
Their reason is that he says things like this:
“Sin is sin,” he said during the Thursday night Bible study at Harvest Orange County in Southern California.
Laurie addressed the “hot-button” issues of homosexuality and marriage while preaching on the fifth commandment of honoring one’s father and mother.
“It doesn’t say honor your mother and mother as in two women married, or honor your father and your father, or honor your mother and her live-in lover,” he said.
“God established the family … He and He alone defines the family. Maybe that’s why Satan hates the family so much and has effectively declared war on it because God loves the family.
“Tamper with God’s formula, if you will, at our own peril.”
Like many pastors who have spoken on the issue of marriage, Laurie said the issue is not political, but rather moral and biblical. (Read the rest here.)
I do not understand why gay people seem to be so blind to the fact that the same rights which allow them to promote their cause belong to everyone.
Some leaders in gay rights organizations seem committed to a program of harassment and hazing of anyone who disagrees with them. At the same time, they appear to be equally committed to creating a world where those who refuse to participate in gay marriages will lose their jobs and have their businesses closed down.
Now it appears they want to make sure that those who speak against gay marriage are locked out of public events.
The question remains: Should pastors who preach against gay marriage be allowed to speak at the National Day of Prayer?
From C.P. US:
Homosexual activists are labeling evangelist Greg Laurie as the “anti-gay California pastor” and are asking government officials to rescind Laurie’s invitation to lead National Day of Prayer-related events in Washington, D.C. as the event’s honorary chairman.
The Human Rights Campaign, the largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) advocacy group in America, contends that Laurie has a history of speaking out against LGBT Americans. And OutServe-SLDN, an association of actively serving LGBT military personnel, is calling on the Pentagon to remove the pastor from the agenda, citing “his blatantly anti-LGBT message.”
“Pastor Laurie’s message is out of step with what the majority of people of faith across this country believe,” said Dr. Sharon Groves, director of HRC’s Religion & Faith Program.
“In greater numbers than ever before, people of faith are feeling compelled to speak up and organize for equality – because of their faith.” (Read the rest here.)
Pope Emeritus Benedict is “relieved” to be free of the “weight” of the Church, his brother says.
Father Georg Ratzinger told the Daily Telegraph that his younger brother is happy in his retirement. The former Pope Benedict spends his days in prayer, reading and playing the piano.
He still “suffers the Church,” but enjoys not have the full weight of it “on his shoulders,” Fr Ratzinger said.
Fr Ratzinger traveled from Germany to Italy for the Pope Emeritus’ 86th birthday.
It is a miracle that these two brothers still have one another at this age and that they are both able to travel and enjoy their lives, including celebrating birthdays.
I wish them peace and happiness in this twilight of their lives.
From National Post:
ROME — The former Pontiff, Pope Emeritus Benedict, is “relieved” to be free of the responsibility of running the Catholic Church, his elder brother has said, but he insisted that Benedict was not suffering from illness.
Father Georg Ratzinger, himself a priest, told The Daily Telegraph his younger brother was “very happy” to be living at Castel Gandolfo, the papal summer retreat south of Rome that he moved to after stepping down in February, becoming the first pope to resign in 600 years. Fr. Ratzinger, 88, who travelled from Germany to celebrate Benedict’s 86th birthday on April 16, said his brother “still suffers the problems of the Church, but is really relieved to no longer have the weight of the Church on his shoulders”.
… Speaking by telephone from his house in Bavaria, Mr Ratzinger denied the pope emeritus was suffering from major ailments. “He is now very old, he does not have any particular illness, but he is weakening due to his age,” he said.
… Since relinquishing the responsibility of overseeing the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, Benedict has spent his time praying, reading and playing the piano at Castel Gandolfo, which is situated on the rim of a volcanic lake, surrounded by acres of private gardens and Roman ruins. (Read the rest here.)