Father Georg Gaenswein (a monsignor) is Pope Benedict's personal assistant. He gave an interview to the German (Munich) newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung. Gerald of the Cafeteria is Closed blog, born in Austria, has translated it. The interviewer was Peter Seewald, who was a lapsed Catholic, spent a couple of weeks with Pope Benedict (then cardinal) and returned to the Church.
Peter Seewald (PS): Herr Praelat, how is the Pope ?
Msgr. Gaenswein (MG): He's well, feels very good, works a lot and is in "high gear".
PS: Does he use the exercise bike that his physician, Dr. Buzzonetti, told him to?
MG: The bike is in our Appartamento Privato.
PS: What does that mean ?
MG: It's being a good bike, ready to be used. . . .
PS: Nobody thought that after a "millennium Pope" like Karol Wojtyla a successor could be successful this quickly. Now, everything has changed. Not only that Benedict XVI. draws twice as many people. That his books are printed by the millions. Pope Ratzinger is viewed as one of the most important thinkers of our time. And, as opposed to his predecessor, he's rarely criticized. What does he have that others don't ?
MG: With being Pope there comes a greater accessibility, a greater sphere of influence and a greater power of assertion. Someone very familiar with the goings-on in Rome said during the Bavaria trip last fall, "John Paul II. opened the hearts of the people. Benedict XVI. fills them." There is a lot of truth in that. The Pope reaches the hearts of the people, he speaks to them, but he doesn't speak of himself, he speaks of Jesus Christ, of God, and that in a descriptive, understandable and convincing manner. That is what people are looking for. Benedict XVI. gives them spiritual nourishment.
It's a long article, but well worth your time.