Benedict XVI appears mentally alert but noticeably frailer and almost unable to speak in a new German television documentary providing a rare glimpse into his daily life.
In the half-hour film aired on Bayerischer Rundfunk (Bavarian state television) on Jan. 3, the 92-year-old Pope Emeritus speaks only three times but in a barely audible voice.
“I used to have a great voice, now it doesn’t work anymore,” Benedict says in the program, which was filmed at his Mater Ecclesiae monastery residence in the Vatican.
“One sees that his strength isn’t there anymore,” his personal secretary Archbishop Georg Gänswein says in the program. “His voice is simply broken, weaker” but he adds that what is “important” to him is “good company” which “lifts his heart” and that he is “at peace with himself.”
His physical appearance has deteriorated considerably over the past couple of years: the documentary shows Benedict thanking guests at his 90th birthday celebration in 2017 with a stronger though still frail voice.