Catholic World News

Vatican dismisses speculation on Pope's health

December 09, 2009

The chief spokesman for the Vatican has scoffed at rumors that Pope Benedict XVI may be in failing health.

Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office, told Agence France Presse that he was “astonished” to encounter speculation about the Pontiff’s health.

The rumors began when the Vatican reminded reporters that Mass on Christmas Eve at the Vatican would begin at 10 pm, rather than at midnight. That change from the traditional schedule—which had been arranged several weeks ago—prompted the London Times to question whether the move was made because of Pope Benedict’s health. Father Lombardi responded that the Vatican has deliberately avoided placing undue demands on the stamina of the 82-year-old Pontiff, and the earlier Mass would allow him to have a full night’s rest before Christmas Day. “It is a sensible precaution,” said the Vatican spokesman, and “no cause for concern or alarm.”

Father Lombardi pointed out that Pope Benedict has been holding to his usual schedule of public appearances, without raising any concerns among those who attend his audiences or meet with him. “Everyone can see the Pope is well,” he said.

 


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