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Secretary: Benedict is ‘absolutely full of the joy of living’

POPE Benedict XVI

DANIEL KARMANN | dpa Picture-Alliance | AFP

Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 10/23/21

While a recent letter spoke of the Pope Emeritus longing for Heaven, this in no way means he wants to die.

Pope Benedict XVI touched hearts with a recent condolence letter sent at the death of a priest he described as his closest friend, Father Gerhard Winkler. While the Pope Emeritus spoke in that note about his longing to join his friends in Heaven, his personal secretary says it in no way meant that he “no longer wants to live. Quite the contrary.”

Benedict XVI is still “absolutely full of the joy of living,” said Archbishop Georg Gaenswein, his personal secretary in an interview with Bild on Thursday.

While the Pope Emeritus wrote the condolence letter “from the heart,” the archbishop said, his preparation for death is simply a part of a good Christian life.

“The art of dying well, ars moriendi, is part of the Christian life,” Archbishop Gaenswein said. “He has been doing this [preparation] for many years already.”

The prelate also said the Pope Emeritus remains in stable health, in the midst of his “physical weakness, with a clear mind, and blessed with his typical Bavarian sense of humor.”

Pope Benedict XVI
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