WILHERING, Austria (CNS) — Retired Pope Benedict XVI has hinted at his death in a condolence message for a former colleague who was a professor in Regensburg, Germany.
“Now he has arrived in the hereafter, where I am sure many friends are already waiting for him. I hope that I will soon be able to join them,” the 94-year-old pope wrote in a letter published by the Upper Austrian Cistercian Abbey of Wilhering on the death of Father Gerhard Winkler.
The German Catholic news agency KNA reported that in the letter dated Oct. 2, the retired pope also emphasized that Father Winkler, who died at the end of September at the age of 91, was “closest to him” among all his colleagues and friends.
“His cheerfulness and deep faith always attracted me,” he wrote.
Father Winkler was a Cistercian monk and professor of church history at the University of Salzburg from 1983 to 1999. Before that, he had been a professor at the University of Regensburg beginning in 1974, at the same time as Joseph Ratzinger, later Pope Benedict XVI, who was there from 1969 to 1977.
At the end of September, retired Pope Benedict’s private secretary, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, said the former head of the church was “stable in weakness,” adding: “He is physically very unstable at 94, but he has a clear head. And: He has not lost his sense of humor.”
The retired pope, who has been living in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican Gardens since his resignation in 2013, was still able to do everything he wants but needed help with some things, Archbishop Gänswein added.
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
PREVIOUS: Italian dioceses urge vaccination, adopt measures for volunteers
NEXT: Spirituality, encounter at heart of World Mission Sunday, cardinal says
Share this story