Secretary Clarifies Pope's Organ Donor Status

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ROME, FEB. 7, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI's private secretary has clarified rumors about the Pope's organ donor card, saying that after election to the See of Peter, it automatically became invalid. 



Monsignor Georg Gänswein made this clarification in a Feb. 5 letter to a German doctor who was using the Pope as an example in order to promote organ donation. 

"It is correct that the Pope has got an organ donor card," Monsignor Gänswein wrote. "But contrary to some claims made in public, the organ donor card from the 1970s became invalid ipso facto when Cardinal Ratzinger was elected leader of the Catholic Church." 

Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry, explained to La Repubblica that the Pope's body belongs to the whole Church, and its preservation is understandable in view of possible future veneration.