Pope Benedict blind in one eye, German journalist suggests, next pope announcement may be sooner than expected

By on Feb 18, 2013 in Europe, World Comments

Updated: March 9, 2013 2:20 a.m.

Read Papal conclave to vote for new pope starting Tuesday, March 12, Vatican announces

Pope Benedict XVI may have gone blind in one eye, according to a German journalist, a week after the pope announced that he will resign from his post, which will be effective on Thursday, February 28, 2013, citing health reasons. The name of the next pope is yet to be announced, but could be sooner than expected.

Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI
Image Credit: Vatican Radio

As noted at Los Angeles Times this Sunday, February 18, Pope Benedict held his second-to-last mass at St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City that day in front of more than 50,000 supporters, which was notably larger than the usual Sunday mass. The ailing pope addressed the crowd to turn back to family.

According to the report, Peter Seewald, a German journalist for Focus magazine, interviewed Pope Benedict XVI about 10 weeks ago, said that the Bishop of Rome has now problems in hearing, and could be blind in his left eye. These two conditions of the 85-year old pope were not mentioned in his resignation announcement.

“His body had become so thin that the tailors had difficulty in keeping up with newly fitted clothes…I’d never seen him so exhausted-looking, so worn down.” Seewald was quoted in the report, telling to Focus, a German magazine, last Saturday. He has interviewed Pope Benedict on various occasions.

“I’m an old man and the strength is ebbing. I think what I’ve done is enough.” The pope was quoted by Seewald. And when German journalist asked him if he considers the thought of retiring, the pope allegedly replied, “that depends on how much my physical strength will force me to that.”

Meanwhile, the announcement for the next pope may be earlier than expected. CNN reported also this Sunday that Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said that the papal conclave, the meeting of the 117 members of College of Cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church, may be held between March 15 and 19.

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