The former Pope Benedict XVI has reportedly become seriously unwell after he returned to the Vatican from Germany.
Benedict, 93, fell ill after he came back from visiting his brother, who is also unwell.
The former Pope is now so unwell “his voice is barely audible” and has become frail and “can barely speak”, according to reports.
The claims came from author Peter Seewald, who spoke to German newspaper Passauer Neue Presse of Benedict’s worsening condition.
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The author said he believed the former Pope was suffering from shingles — a type of viral infection.
He said when he met with Benedict again on Saturday he appeared optimistic.
Benedict had been visiting his brother Georg Ratzinger in Bavaria. Mr Ratzinger, 96, died shortly after Benedict’s visit.
It was the former Pope’s first visit outside the Vatican since 2013 when he resigned the papacy.
Pope Benedict XVI, born Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger, was born in Bavaria and was ordained as a priest in 1951.
He resigned in 2013, saying he had a “lack of strength of mind and body” due to his age. He was 85 years old.
He was the first Pope to resign since 1415, and the first to do so by choice since 1294.