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Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI Did Not Lose His Voice, Says Archbishop Gänswein

Pope Francis and new cardinals meet retired Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI at the retired pontiff’s residence after a consistory at the Vatican Nov. 28, 2020. (Photo:CNS/Vatican Media)

BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — Archbishop Georg Gänswein, the pope emeritus’ secretary, is denying media reports that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI lost his voice

Austrian Catholic news agency Kathpress reported that Archbishop Gänswein confirmed that even though the 93-year-old pope emeritus’ voice is weak, he is still able to speak clearly and is understandable. However, the archbishop said his voice has “become very weak and thin” for a long time and that you have to listen carefully to understand.

Italian news agency Ansa reported that after the Nov. 28 consistory, when Pope Francis and the 13 new cardinals met Emeritus Benedict XVI in the chapel of the “Mater Ecclesiae” for a greeting and blessing, reports circulated suggesting the former pope was no longer able to speak.

Maltese Cardinal Mario Grech said that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI had “difficulty in expressing himself” and that he told the new cardinals that the “Lord has taken away my speech to let me appreciate silence.”

Around the same time, the Holy See Press Office’s statement said that in keeping with tradition, the pope emeritus expressed his joy for the visit and, after the recitation of the “Salve Regina,” blessed the new cardinals which included 11 senior churchmen and two U.S. citizens.

Back in August, the Vatican made a public statement on Benedict XVI’s condition, insisting that his condition is normal for someone his age. Spokesperson Matteo Bruni told journalists that the “health conditions of the pope emeritus are not of particular concern, except for those of a 93-year-old who is going through the most acute phase of a painful, but not serious, illness.”

[Related: Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s ‘Illness Is Subsiding’ Says Secretary Archbishop Gänswein]


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