Pope Benedict XVI at the airport in Munich, Germany, on June 22 after visiting his brother. (Photo: AFP)
Former Pope Benedict XVI is seriously ill after visiting his sick brother in Germany in June, according to a report today in Germany’s Passauer Neue Presse newspaper.
The 93-year-old is "extremely frail" and suffering from erysipelas of the face, a virus that causes a facial rash and episodes of severe pain, it reported.
"His thinking and his memory are quick, but his voice is hardly audible at the moment," the newspaper said, citing the former pope's biographer Peter Seewald.
Seewald reportedly visited Benedict in Rome on Aug. 1 to present him with his biography.
"At the meeting the emeritus pope, despite his illness, was optimistic and declared that if his strength increased again he would possibly take up his pen again," the newspaper said.
Benedict visited his sick brother Georg Ratzinger in Germany in June, marking his first trip out of Italy since his shock resignation in 2013. Georg died just two weeks later, aged 96.
Benedict, whose original name is Joseph Ratzinger, now lives in a small former monastery inside the Vatican.
He has largely stayed out of the public eye since he became the first pope in 600 years to resign, citing health reasons.
A traditionalist in the Catholic Church, he was replaced by the reformist Pope Francis.