Pope Emeritis Benedict is very sick

Emeritus Pope Benedict (95), is very sick and Pope Francis is asking for prayers.

“I would like to ask all of you for a special prayer for Pope Emeritus Benedict, who, in silence, is sustaining the Church.

“Let us remember him. He is very sick, asking the Lord to console and sustain him in this witness of love for the Church, until the end,” Francis said.

Francis made the surprise appeal at the end of his audience at the Vatican Wednesday morning, Rome time.

After the audience, Francis went directly to visit Benedict.

Francis regularly visits with Benedict, but informal reports say recently he has been a more frequent visitor.

Updated over night

Overnight, NZ time, Reuters reports a statement from the Vatican saying Benedict’s health has worsened due to his age, but he was receiving constant medical attention and his condition was under control.

Bishops around the world have joined in the call for prayer for the former Pontiff.

“This morning I received the news that there is great concern in Rome about the health of Pope Emeritus. And so we especially want to include him in our prayers,” German Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Archbishop of Munich, told churchgoers.

Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, head of Italy’s bishops conference, asked Italians to keep Benedict in their thoughts “in this moment of suffering and trial”.

Until a few weeks ago, those who had seen Benedict said his body was very frail but his mind was still sharp.

Italian news reports said he had been suffering from respiratory problems over the Christmas period.


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