ROME – Last year, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI shared a birthday beer and Bavarian pretzels with his friends and family. This year, the retired pope was again joined by his 94 year old brother, Monsignor Georg Ratzinger, who traveled from Bavaria to celebrate. The retired pope turns 91 this year.
Like last year (this @oss_romano photo), retired Pope Benedict XVI celebrated his birthday today in the company of his brother, Msgr Georg Ratzinger. This evening, the Vatican says, the Swiss Guard Band will stop by and play some tunes. Happy 91st, Pope Benedict! pic.twitter.com/ODYke6XMZa
— Catholic News Service (@CatholicNewsSvc) April 16, 2018
Since his retirement, rumors have swirled regarding Benedict’s health. Archbishop Georg Gänswein, Benedict’s secretary, cleared up some of the rumors in an interview last year. The archbishop didn’t deny some issues with the retired pope’s physical health, but assured Catholics around the world that Benedict was “in good spirits, very clear in his head and still has a good sense of humor.”
Pope Francis offered his Mass intention this morning for Benedict, and sent him a birthday message afterwards.
— Aleteia (@AleteiaEN) April 16, 2018
Without question, Pope Benedict XVI is an incredible theologian and Catholic mind. During his papacy, he wrote on topics that we are unfortunately all too familiar with in today’s culture—individualism, materialism, secularism and godlessness. Since retiring from the papacy in 2013, Father Benedict lives in a former monastery on the Vatican grounds.