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Five years after his resignation, eyes are back on the 90-year-old. He expresses himself, others express themselves – and none of this diminishes the concerns about the state of health of the Pope emeritus, on the contrary. We’re talking about the hour of death, posthumous surprises.
It was Benedict himself who fueled speculation last week. In his own words, he is preparing for the end. "While my physical strength is slowly waning, I make a pilgrimage home"wrote the former head of the church in a letter to the Italian newspaper "Corriere della Sera". The last stretch of the way is sometimes strenuous, it says. It touches him how many people wanted to know "how i spend the last phase of my life".
Few have any insight into his seclusion behind the Vatican walls. Since his completely unexpected resignation in February 2013, the native Bavarian has lived in the Mater Ecclesiae monastery in the Vatican Gardens. From there he has a wonderful view of the magnificent dome of St. Peter’s Basilica. There he prays and receives visitors. At his side is private secretary Georg Gänswein, who as recently as October reported rumors about the supposedly poor state of health "Fake news" rejected. At 90 years of age, Benedikt is doing well, Gänswein emphasized.
Prayers for "a good hour of death"
When Benedict received a good 50 guests on the square in front of the house in the Vatican ten months ago for his milestone birthday, he looked quite sprightly. Bavaria’s Prime Minister Horst Seehofer came, there was beer and a glass of liqueur. A white-and-blue party for the birthday boy, whose gait may be wobbly, his voice thick and his eyelids heavy. But Benedict was clear – and his will was great to hold a speech for approximately two minutes. He looked frail in photos that were published in the months that followed. If he fell, he blacked his eye.
"My brother and I are getting less and less. Always weaker"said Benedikt’s brother Georg Ratzinger in an interview published on Wednesday by "New post". Meanwhile, Benedict has to use the wheelchair again and again. His brother has one "Nervous disease that burdens him very much. The main concern is that the paralysis could eventually affect the heart. And then it can be over quickly." He pray for "a good hour of death" for himself and his brother.
In the past few months, the 94-year-old has always been careful to emphasize that his brother is fine. That walking and reading are more difficult for him is only due to old age. But mentally he is fully up to date.
Pope Benedict XVI in April 2017 with a glass of liqueur: According to the Pope emeritus, his brother is doing well. (Source: Lena Klimkeit / dpa)
Surprising resignation after eight years
On February 11, 2013, after his eight-year pontificate, Joseph Ratzinger, completely surprisingly, revealed to the cardinals that he could no longer be Pope. "After repeatedly testing my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that, as a result of advanced age, my strength is no longer suitable for properly performing the Petrine ministry"he said at the time. On February 28th, he resigned as the first Pope in more than 700 years.
The move shocked, but many also showed him respect for his decision. Benedict always denied that intrigues were the reason for his resignation. But the last months of his pontificate were not easy. The Vatileaks affair exposed corruption and mismanagement in the Vatican. Benedict no longer seemed to have a grip on dubious practices at the Vatican Bank. To this day, critics accuse him of being in the background of Francis as a kind "Shadow pope" to act. Others are of the opinion that it is Francis’ opponents who are instrumentalizing his predecessors in the fight against the reform course.
Good Bavarian in the Vatican: Benedict XVI. celebrates his 90th birthday Former head of the church: Ex-Pope Benedict: ” The forces are dwindling ”
The Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet was there when Benedict read the Latin words five years ago. "That morning, I had the impression that something was going to happen"said Ouellet "Vatican News". Benedict is a theologian for life. "He kept thinking. I think there could be some posthumous surprises from the pen of Benedict XVI. give to the edification of the Church." But if it goes to Ouellet, it will still be some time. "I don’t think his death is imminent."
Sources used: dpa
After the debate about the Pius Brotherhood, Pope Benedict is again under criticism (source: dpa)
A few days after the Pope’s letter on the conflict over the ultra-conservative Pius Brotherhood, the Vatican comes under renewed criticism. According to a report in the news magazine "The mirror" has Pope Benedict XVI. In 1998 an article was published in the right-wing extremist Austrian Aula-Verlag. As can be seen from the correspondence between the Vatican and the publisher, Joseph Ratzinger’s secretary at the time had the reprint of an article "on behalf of Cardinal Ratzinger" approved.
The text was in 1998 in the anthology "1848 – inheritance and mandate" published, which was published by two well-known right-wing extremists.
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Green politicians: Rethink the Pope’s position
In contrast, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Vienna stated in February of this year that the editors had Ratzinger "apparently not asked for permission to reproduce his article"the magazine quoted the Catholic news agency Kathpress. The reason was the demand of the Green National Council member Karl Öllinger that the position of the Pope in the debate about the Pius Brotherhood had to be completely reassessed because of the publication.
Even the FPÖ distanced itself
Already three years ago it had been loud "mirror" the monthly magazine of the Grazer Verlag made headlines beyond Austria. Editor Herwig Nachtmann took sides with the Holocaust denier Walter Lüftl. Thereupon even the Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) distanced itself from the newspaper and publisher under the now deceased Jörg Haider.
Admitted mishaps in the Vatican
In the dispute over the withdrawal of the excommunication of four Pius Brothers, Pope Benedict XVI. admitted mishaps in the Vatican in a personal letter published on Thursday.
More news about the Pius Brotherhood
Pope Benedict XVI was apparently in love with a fellow student as a student. That’s what the Pope biographer Peter Seewald said "time"-Garnish "Christian & world".
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Seewald spoke to Pope Joseph Ratzinger, who has been emeritus since 2013, for a series of interview volumes, the third part of which "Last conversations" appears on Friday. The statements about early love are not included in the book because, according to Seewald, they did not fit into the process. But Ratzinger breaks his silence on his resignation.
I was in love with the young Ratzinger "hard to create". The decision for celibacy was not easy for him, said Seewald.
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"Effect on women – and vice versa"
After the war there were also women theology students for the first time. "He was really a very smart guy, a handsome young man, a beautiful spirit who writes poetry and Hermann Hesse reads. One of his fellow students told me that he had definitely had an effect on women – and vice versa."
According to Seewald, the talks were not originally planned for publication during his lifetime. Ratzinger then let himself be changed – provided Pope Francis gave his approval. "And there was no ifs and buts", says Seewald.
Seldom has the world experienced Joseph Ratzinger so emotionally, so touched as on this Sunday. Pale, almost taken, Benedict XVI stepped. in front of the believers in St. Peter’s Square – as if the death of his predecessor was still getting under his skin. "He left a deep mark in the history of the Church and humanity"said the German Pope during the Angelus prayer about John Paul II, who died a year ago.
Pope grave attracts crowds of visitorsAt a glance photo series
"His legacy is immeasurable"In his address, Benedict XVI paid tribute to the "great pontificate" des Poles and reminded vividly of the last public appearances of John Paul, when he was already marked by death and could no longer speak. The visibly moved Ratzinger spoke several times of "our beloved Pope". Benedikt interrupted his lecture several times and took short breaks. "His legacy is immeasurable", he said. Ratzinger explicitly recalled the more than 100 trips abroad as well as the political statements of the predecessor, such as his demands for peace.
In the Polish homeland of John Paul, the Krakow Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz celebrated a mass in front of more than 10,000 believers in the Sanctuary of Lagiewniki near Krakow. The atmosphere of mourning and farewell that swept across Poland a year ago was again within reach. Karol Wojtyla himself was a bishop in Cracow, and many of the faithful knew him personally.
"As if the world was holding its breath"It was as if the world was holding its breath at that moment", the Archbishop of Cracow and longtime private secretary of John Paul II remembered the hour of his death. "John Paul II proved that the gospel is still relevant and that one can live according to it in our complicated world." In Wadowice, Karol Wojtyla’s birthplace in southern Poland, thousands celebrated an open-air mass.
John Paul II. Animated Graphics Photo Series Photo Series
Address at the hour of death The highlight of the celebrations in Rome is to be a prayer vigil in the evening on St. Peter’s Square, to which hundreds of thousands of believers are expected. At the time of death at 9:37 p.m. Pope Benedict XVI. pray a rosary together with the believers and speak to the people. The Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi visited the grave of John Paul under St. Peter’s Basilica in the morning.
Sirens and bells In Poland, sirens and bells were to commemorate the hour of death of the Pope on Sunday evening. Streets and squares named after John Paul II had been decorated with candles and flowers all weekend. Many believers were overwhelmed by their feelings and burst into tears. "He was a great, great person"said a woman in front of the Bishop’s Palace in Krakow about the Polish Pope.
Obituary for John Paul II "Just call me Karol" chronology
Not without controversy: John Paul II led the Catholic Church for more than 25 years and is considered one of the most important popes in history. His conservative course on contraception and sexual morals was also criticized by many believers.
First Steps to Beatification Meanwhile, the process of beatification of the former Shepherd is proceeding. A first stage of the procedure, which is strictly determined by canonical law, has now come to an end in Poland. Over 100 witnesses were heard, who gave information about Karol Wojtyla’s life and person. At the last session of the Kraków Tribunal, several Italian and Polish clergymen hoped that Pope Benedict would defy canon law and canonize John Paul just as quickly. Blessed are allowed to be venerated by the faithful in their local churches, saints throughout the world.
The small Upper Bavarian village of Marktl has been the birthplace of the Pope for one year. The square around the town hall and the house where Joseph Ratzinger was born is quiet these days. Only a handful of Rhinelander poses for the group photo in front of the building in which the Catholic head of the church saw the light of day on April 16, 1927. But appearances are deceptive: 120,000 tourists from all over the world have come to the market town near Altötting on the Inn since the papal election on April 19, 2005. In order to enable guests to stay overnight in the place with the Pope flair in the future, an investor is even planning a hotel where congresses are also possible.
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"Private – please rest"Among the curious who flock to Marktl are not a few who want to know exactly where the Pope made his first cry. "Private – please rest" is written in chalk on the wooden front door of the Pope’s birth house. Many of them still press their noses flat against the window panes with the curtains drawn to catch a glimpse inside. Others, despite the hint of privacy, ring the bell and ask to be let in. The owner couldn’t stand the hype for long and sold the building, which she had lovingly restored, to a church foundation – there is talk of over three million euros.
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A short detour? The change of ownership in Marktl is fueling hopes that the Pope will make a short detour during his visit to Bavaria in September. The most prominent "son" The community could of course look at nothing more than the plans to convert his listed birthplace into a meeting center. The opening is not conceivable before 2007. Even if the Munich Cardinal Friedrich Wetter has recently dampened hopes of a flying visit from the Pope, the locals rely on Ratzinger Marktl not to let down.
Houses are empty From the outside, not much has changed since the event a year ago. Houses in the village center are still empty, including an old inn. The close proximity to the cradle of Pope Benedict XVI. does not seem to be a guarantee for economic success. Nevertheless, Marktl wants to use the chance as Ratzinger’s place of birth, without getting further anger from church superiors over specialties named after the Pope such as "Papal beer", "Benedict cuts" and "Vatican bread" to draw.