Vatican Denies Reports of Pope Benedict's Death, Failing Health

Posted: Oct 18, 2017 8:50 AM

UPDATE: A picture of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and two sisters taken earlier today was released to the media. While Benedict does appear frail, he is certainly neither dead nor immobile. 

---Original Post---

The Vatican has denied reports out of Spain that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has died, and has also denied recent rumors speculating that the former pontiff is in failing health. Rumors concerning his health began swirling over the weekend, with one un-verified post saying that he was like a "fading candle" and was no longer able to walk nor celebrate Mass. Pope Benedict turned 90 in April. 

Archbishop Georg Ganswein, Benedict's personal secretary, said that these rumors were "false and wrong" and told German media that he is not close to death. Ganswein said that Benedict's brother had visited the Vatican just last week, and that the two had a "good time."                                                   

Benedict's most recent public appearance was in 2016, but photos of him drinking a celebratory birthday beer were released in April.                                                       

On February 28, 2013, Benedict resigned from the papacy, becoming the first to do so since 1415. He now lives in the Vatican City and is referred to as "Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI." He was replaced two weeks later by Pope Francis.