Updated 28/12/2022 15:15
According to the Vatican, Pope Emeritus Benedict’s health has suddenly deteriorated in the last few hours. But he is receiving constant medical care, Vatican sources quoted by Reuters reported.
Pope Francis is currently visiting his predecessor and asking the faithful to pray for Benedict. According to the ANSA agency, the ninety-five-year-old ex-pope’s health condition was deteriorating in the run-up to Christmas.
Pope Francis visited his ailing predecessor this morning, soon after concluding a general audience by calling out a prayer for the priest who, like Benedict XVI, was head of the Catholic Church from 2005 to 2013. Benedict lives at the Mater Ecclesiae convent in the Vatican Gardens. Church leaders in his native Germany also called for prayers for Benedict. “My thoughts are with the pope emeritus,” Georg Bätzing, president of the German bishops’ conference, told DPA.
“I would like to ask a special prayer from all of you for Pope Emeritus Benedict, who silently supports the Church. Let us remember him. He was seriously ill and we ask God to comfort and support him in witnessing his love for the Church to the end,” said Francis in Italian. .
“Regarding the Pope Emeritus’ health… I can confirm that there has been a decline in the last few hours due to his advanced age. The situation is now under control, being constantly monitored by doctors,” Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said in a statement. .
The ANSA agency, citing unnamed and well-informed sources, wrote that Benedikt’s health was deteriorating rapidly before Christmas and that breathing difficulties were the cause.
In 2013, Pope Emeritus Benedict, born Joseph Ratzinger, became the first pope in about 600 years to step down from his position. Since then, he has lived in the Vatican, where he devoted his life to prayer and meditation after leaving the papacy.
As recently as a few weeks ago, those who had the chance to see Benedict said he was very fragile physically, but his mind remained sharp, Reuters reports. One of the last published photos of the former pope was taken on Dec. 1 when he met the laureates of the theological award named after him. He sat looking very weak, Reuters added.
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