Facts: Who takes care of Pope Benedict XVI?
Photo by NCR
Pope Benedict XVI lives in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in Vatican City. Pope Francis went to visit him after the General Audience as the Pope emeritus’ health condition has worsened.In the monastery, four members of the Memores Domini association take care of Pope Benedict XVI. They are laywomen, who do not take vows nor do they wear habits. They do, however, live committed to chastity, obedience and community.These women are also in charge of some of the pope emeritus’ property, such as his ring and rosary.
Another person close to the Pope emeritus is his personal secretary, Archbishop Georg Gänswein. He celebrates Mass with Pope Benedict XVI and often reads letters on his behalf. Archbishop Gänswein is also the prefect of the Pontifical Household.
At the end of the general audience, Pope Francis asked for prayers for Benedict XVI, who “in silence is sustaining the Church.”
“I would like to ask all of you,” Pope Francis said, “for a special prayer for Pope Emeritus Benedict, who in silence is sustaining the Church. Remember him, he is very ill, asking the Lord to console him and sustain him in this witness of love for the Church until the end.”
Benedict XVI, 95, resigned as pontiff on Feb. 11, 2013, and his pontificate ended on Feb. 28, 2013. Since then, except for an initial interlude in Castel Gandolfo, he has lived in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican, first participating in some public events at Pope Francis’ request (the blessing of the statue of St. Michael the Archangel in the Vatican Museums, consistories, the opening of the Holy Door of the Extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy), then remaining in the monastery, maintaining constant contact with the outside world, and also receiving the new cardinals created after the Consistory.