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Lombardi: “Benedict Is in Good Health”

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Papal household source says Pope Emeritus is "serenely experiencing" the normal physical decline that comes with aging

Pope Francis has made a private visit to the Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, to offer Easter Greetings, according to the Italian news agency ANSA.

At the beginning of Holy Week, the Holy Father desired to wish his predecessor a happy Easter, and so made a brief visit to Mater Ecclesiae Monastery, in the Vatican, where the former pontiff resides.

In discussing the visit, people close to Francis and often in the company of the Pope Emeritus — who prefers to be called Father Benedict — took the opportunity to express regret and surprise at how misinterpreted were the words of Archbishop Georg Gänswein, prefect of the Papal Household, and longtime secretary to Benedict, as quoted in a recent interview with the Italian Catholic magazine Benessere.

In that interview it was reported that Father Benedict, who in April will be 89 years old, “is gradually fading …”

“Misunderstood words,” said a source at the pontifical household, who said the situation is only reflective of the condition of any elderly person, close to 90 years, who is “serenely experiencing a physical decline due to age,” but is not physically ill.

The director of the Holy See Press Office, Federico Lombardi, said Monday that “Benedict XVI is in good health,” and denied that there are any serious reasons for concern.

Translated from the Spanish.

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