Among rumors swirling around this week about Pope Benedict XVI, the Vatican released a statement confirming that he did not suffer a stroke and that he is still very much alive (and okay).
Sadly, according to the Catholic News Agency, rumors hit social media platforms, including Twitter, stating that the Pope had dealt with a “mild ischemia” early on in the week, which is a certain kind of stroke. It occurs when there is a blockage or buildup in a person’s arteries, and it can develop in one’s legs, brain, and anywhere in between. Regardless, the end result of an ischemia, mild or otherwise, is that the issue can lead to complications like a stroke or heart attack.
Director Ad Interim of the Press Office of the Holy See, Alessandro Gisotti confirmed that those rumors that hit social media were false.
In addition, Benedict’s personal secretary, Archbishop George Ganswein, called the stroke rumor “fake news”; this via a report on Twitter by Edward Pentin.
This certainly is not the first time that the Vatican has felt the need to squash rumors around conditions that the Pope seemingly had developed. Various times in the past few years, the organization has had to release statements around Benedict XVI confirming that he was okay, and not near death.
In 2013, Benedict XVI stepped down from his position, stating declining strength and advanced aging was making it hard for him to carry out the duties needed within his position and the ministry. At that point in time, he was the first pope in close to 600 years to step away from the papacy.
Because of his resignation, it’s natural for speculation to arise whenever anything seems out of the ordinary; however, the good news is, Benedict XVI seems in quite good health and nowhere near a dire situation.