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"In good shape": Benedict at 90

Benedict and Francis

Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI turns 90 next month, but according to his closest aide, his advanced age hasn't yet created any truly serious health challenges, reports Crux.

"Pope Benedict is in good shape," said German Archbishop Georg Gänswein, the Prefect of the Papal Household for Pope Francis and also private secretary to Pope Benedict.

"What bothers him most are his legs so he uses a walker for help, and he gets along very well," Archbishop Gänswein said in a brief interview with Vatican Radio.

"Otherwise, he's quite clear in his head, and quite bright," he said. "He participates in everything. He reads, he prays, he listens to music, and he has visitors. Every day he takes a little walk while praying his rosary, so he's doing the same thing he did at the beginning of his time as the pope emeritus."

Archbishop Gänswein suggested Benedict is still a voracious reader, but refused to be drawn into conversation about what exactly is on his reading table right now.

"Naturally he remains a theologian, but he doesn't just read theology. Specifically what he's reading, of course, I won't betray, but his interests are very wide," he said.

The Archbishop also said that the Pope reads the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, and other sources every day to "inform himself and know what's going on in the world".

Part of what may help keep him on track, according to Archbishop Gänswein, is the regularity with which he divides each day - beginning, as it always has, he said, with the celebration of morning Mass.

Each Sunday Pope Benedict delivers a homily at Mass for his small household, composed of Archbishop Gänswein and several female members of Memores Domini, a community of consecrated lay women associated with the Communion and Liberation movement.

"We pay attention to what he preaches, because he speaks freely," Archbishop Gänswein said. "He may make some notes, but then he preaches, and we're trying to focus on what he says."

FULL STORY

Key aide to Pope Benedict: As he approaches 90, he's fine (Crux)