Vatican City – Pope Francis said Wednesday his predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, is “very ill” and that he is praying for him and wants the faithful to do the same. Benedict is 95 years old. His health is steadily deteriorating.
“I would like to ask you all to pray a special prayer for Pope Emeritus Benedict,” Pope Francis said in Italian at the end of his general audience.
He called on people to “think of him because he is very ill and ask the Lord to comfort and sustain him.”
The Vatican press office told CBS News that it knows no more about Benedict’s condition than what Francis said.
Benedict, who resigned in 2013 as the first pope in six centuries, has almost completely withdrawn from the public eye.
The few photos that have surfaced of him show that he is in an increasingly frail state of health.
Back in 2013, he cited his declining physical and mental health in his decision to become the first pope since 1415 to step down as head of the worldwide Catholic Church.
The German Pope Emeritus, whose real name is Joseph Ratzinger, lives a quiet life in a former monastery in the Vatican.
His resignation has created an unprecedented situation in which two popes – Benedict and Francis – have co-existed within the walls of the tiny city-state.
In April, Benedict’s longtime secretary, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, told Vatican News the ex-Pope was “physically relatively weak and fragile” but “in good spirits”.
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https://www.cbsnews.com/news/former-pope-benedict-very-ill-francis-says-asks-for-prayers/ Pope Francis says ex-Pope Benedict is ‘very ill’ and asks for prayers for him