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Vatican says ex-pope's condition 'not particularly worrying'
[VATICAN CITY] The Vatican, responding to a German newspaper report that former pope Benedict's condition was serious, said it was "not particularly worrying" and that he was overcoming the acute phase of a painful but not grave ailment.
The clarification came hours after the ex-pope's biographer, Peter Seewald, told a German newspaper that he visited the 93-year-old on Saturday and found him extremely frail.
Mr Seewald said the former pope, who has been in frail health for some time, was now suffering from shingles, a viral infection that causes painful rashes and is common among older people.
He said the former church leader's voice is barely audible - echoing something other visitors have said for months - and that the former pope told him he might pick up writing again if he regains his strength.
In June, the ex-pope, who lives in a former convent in the Vatican gardens, left Italy for the first time since his resignation in 2013 for an emotional farewell visit to his older brother Georg in their native Bavaria.
Georg Ratzinger died on July 1 aged 96. The two brothers were ordained priests on the same day in 1951.