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Key aide to Pope Benedict: As he approaches 90, he’s fine

ROME – 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 aside from a basic problem with walking without assistance.

“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,” Gänswein said, “so he uses a walker for help, and he gets along very well.”

Gänswein made the comments 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,” Gänswein said.

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.

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