Archbishop Georg Ganswein, the personal secretary of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, has rejected reports that the former pontiff is nearing death.
Rumors of Benedict XVI being close to death circulated on social media following a quote attributed to Ganswein, which reads, “Pope Benedict is like a candle that fades slowly. He is serene, at peace with God, with himself and the world. He can no longer walk without help and can no longer celebrate Mass.”
However, Archbishop Ganswein called his quote “pure invention.” “It is false and wrong! I would like to know who the author of this is,” he said, according to German media outlet kath.net. “I have received in the last two days many messages that refer to this phrase, and people are worried,” he said.
Last week, Ratzinger’s brother was at the Vatican to visit, and he has now returned home, Ganswein confirmed, adding, “Both had a good time.”