Author Topic: Pope Benedict XVI Visits Africa Amid Health Concerns  (Read 1440 times)

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Offline cherrie
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Pope Benedict XVI travels to Benin on Friday for a physically demanding three-day trip amid concerns among observers that the pontiff’s busy workload may be damaging his health.

Since October, the 84-year-old pope has twice had to make use of a mobile platform to move in St Peter’s Basilica during mass in order to spare him unnecessary effort, the same device used by his predecessor John Paul II. Plans to visit Mexico City on a planned trip to Mexico next year have also been scrapped as too risky, because the city is at high altitude and the German pontiff had a history of heart problems even before becoming pope.

Benedict’s doctor, Patrizio Polisca, who accompanies him on all his trips and always contacts medical officials in the country, is believed to have already alerted Beninese authorities. Rumours that Benedict may not be in the best of health were fed by his own comments last year that he would not hesitate to resign if he felt himself no longer able to run the Catholic Church.

As Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, he suffered a stroke while vacationing in the Alps which briefly affected his eyesight and weakened his heart. The Vatican said he suffered another mild stroke in May 2005 after being elected pope in April. He fell and broke his wrist in 2009 during another holiday in the Alps.

Ratzinger submitted his resignation to pope John Paul II three times — in 1991, 1996 and 2001 — for health reasons and also to have more time to write — but each time it was refused. According to the well-informed Vatican Insider website, Benedict now suffers from degenerative arthritis and his right hip hurts when he walks. “What we’re seeing in the pope is more a problem of old-age than of illness,” said Vatican expert Sandro Magister.

Elected to the papacy at the age of 78 — significantly older than John Paul II who became pope at 58 — Benedict has not been able to match his predecessor’s energy for regular sessions of jogging, swimming and hiking. His use of the mobile platform in church has reminded many of John Paul II’s decline. With the onset of Parkinson’s disease in 1993, the outgoing pope had increasing difficulty walking and used the platform regularly.

The Vatican has always remained tight-lipped over the pope’s health. Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said there was “nothing new to add” and “no indication of any disease”. Despite rumours of tiredness, Lombardi said the pope has kept all engagements this year and is full of “energy” for new projects such as the possible trip to Mexico and Cuba.

During the summer, Benedict kept up a punishing pace at World Youth Day celebrations in Madrid, where he held mass for over a million young people despite fierce storms. In the Vatican, he avoids tiring himself out unnecessarily, and for the past two years has swapped his traditional summer holiday in the Alps for a more tranquil stay in Gandolfo Castle near Rome.
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Offline Perfect
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I think he should resign why suffer his fresh when there are thousands who can equally do what he does?.


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