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VATICAN CITY, Oct. 21, (ChurchMilitant.com) - Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is bright, happy, and closer to God than ever, according to a news reporter after having visited the former pontiff at his home in Castel Gandolfo.
Kai Diekmann of the German journal Bild Zeitung met with Benedict on October 15, and reported he was happy and peaceful, showing no signs of the wearied look he wore when he resigned two years ago, although he now uses a walker to get around.
"He is there on the doorstep, our Pope. Bright-eyed, smiley, leaning on a Zimmer frame. He is wearing a white cassock and a simple pair of brown sandals on his feet."
In his announcement in February 2013 that shocked the faithful worldwide, Benedict explained his resignation was owing to his advanced age and deteriorating strength. The former Holy Father had clearly been looking stressed and weary for some time up until that point, and his decision to resign had been one he had contemplated for some time.
On October 15, however, despite needing a walker to move around, Diekmann reported Benedict was happy, healthy and very warm, having greeted the reporter with both hands and a kind smile. Benedict said then, "In these moments I feel that I am in even closer communion with God."
Diemann gave Benedict a gift in the form of a birchwood structure inscribed with the well-known phrase Wir sind Papst. The German phrase, meaning "We are Pope," was a chant sung by Germans in 2005 when then Cdl. Josef Ratzinger was elected. Benedict looked at it fondly and said he felt the affection of his German people through the piece of art.
According to Diekmann, Benedict continues to lead a quiet life of prayer, visiting the Lourdes Grotto in the Vatican Gardens every evening to pray the Rosary.