ACTION ITEM! Benedict XVI “frail” and sick with bacterial infection


Ed Pentin at the Register:

Archbishop Ganswein: Pope Emeritus Benedict’s Ailment Is ‘Not Serious’
The latest news of Benedict’s condition came from his biographer, Peter Seewald, who visited the Pope Emeritus over the weekend.

VATICAN CITY — The health condition of Pope Emeritus Benedict “does not give cause for particular concern, except for a 93-year-old man who is overcoming the most acute phase of a painful, but not serious, illness,” his personal secretary Archbishop Georg Gänswein said Monday.

His comments, given through the Vatican press office this evening, came in response to a report in this morning’s Passauer Neue Presse (PNP) that Benedict XVI was “seriously ill” and suffering from facial erysipelas, a bacterial infection of the skin that causes a painful, red rash.

The infection, which mostly affects infants and the elderly, can cause fever, headaches and lymphedema and is treated with antibiotics. A form of herpes or shingles, it is not considered life-threatening.


Frail or not… Ill or not… Benedict deserves our prayers!

Let’s all pray for Benedict.

From CNA Deutsch:

“Schwer erkrankt”: Sorge über Gesundheitszustand von Papst emeritus Benedikt XVI.

“Seriously ill”: concern about the health of Pope emeritus Benedict XVI.

From CNA English:

Benedict XVI unwell since visit to Germany

Hmmmm… which is it?

By Hannah Brockhaus
Rome Newsroom, Aug 3, 2020 / 03:21 am MT (CNA).- Pope emeritus Benedict XVI is sick with a bacterial infection and “very frail,” according to a German newspaper report.

Citing Benedict biographer Peter Seewald, German newspaper Passauer Neue Presse (PNP) reported Aug. 3 that the 93-year-old pope emeritus is suffering from facial erysipelas, a bacterial infection of the skin which causes a painful, red rash. [Not viral.]

The infection can also result in fever, headaches, and lymphedema. It is treated with antibiotics.

Seewald told PNP that Benedict has been “very frail” since his return from visiting his ailing older brother, Msgr. Georg Ratzinger, in Bavaria in June. Georg Ratzinger died July 1.

Seewald saw Benedict XVI at his Vatican home in the Mater Ecclesia monastery Aug. 1 to present him with a copy of his latest biography of the retired pope.

The journalist said despite his illness, Benedict was optimistic and stated he might take up writing again if his strength returns. Seewald also said the former pope’s voice is now “barely audible.”

PNP also reported Aug. 3 that Benedict has chosen to be buried in the former tomb of St. John Paul II in the crypt of St. Peter’s Basilica. The body of the Polish pope was moved into the upper part of the basilica when he was canonized in 2014.

Like John Paul II, Benedict XVI has written a spiritual testament which can be published after his death.

Benedict XVI resigned from the papacy in 2013, citing advanced age and declining strength that made it difficult to carry out his ministry. He was the first pope to resign in nearly 600 years.

In a letter published in an Italian newspaper in February 2018, Benedict said, “I can only say that at the end of a slow decline in physical strength, inwardly I am on pilgrimage home.”


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  1. ThePapalCount says:

    May our gracious God bless, comfort and bring healing to the pope emeritus. May our Blessed Mother and the entire company of saints join us in our prayers for Pope Benedict.

  2. acardnal says:

    One report said he had shingles.

  3. The Egyptian says:

    Just wonder how much the death of his brother comes into play, the poor man must be lonely, Many elderly seem to stop fighting when they are the last of their family, not all but many, My God do his will and may he live a while longer if it is his will.
    may God Bless Benedict , we miss you

  4. NOCatholic says:

    I fear The Egyptian might be right. I’ve seen elderly relatives do the same.

    Prayers to St Joseph for the health of Pope Emeritus Benedict, and for a happy and peaceful death when his time comes.

  5. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    I’ve read both that he has shingles (a cutaneous re-activation of the chicken pox virus Herpes zoster along a neurosensory distribution with exquisitely painful vesicular rash) and that he has erysipelas (a bacterial based erythematous/vesicular cellulitic rash usually due to Streptococcus or Staphylococcus species).

    My suspicion is that he has a bacterial cellulitic infection superimposed on the open vesicular eruption due to Shingles. Shingles classically re-appears during times of psychological/biological stress…a nanogenarian on an international trip for a brother’s funeral during a true worldwide pandemic would count as a stressor methinks.

  6. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Erysipelas patron saints:

    St. Benedict of Nursia
    St. Anthony Abbot (hence the name “St. Anthony’s fire”)
    St. Castulus of Rome (husband of St. Irene of Rome)
    St. Ida of Nivelles

  7. Semper Gumby says:

    Thank you Fr. Z for the update. Prayers for Benedict XVI and gratitude for Summorum Pontificum.

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