Pope Benedict XVI in Zagreb, Croatia in 2011 (Wikimedia Commons)

By Kate Anderson
Daily Caller News Foundation

Pope Francis asked for prayer for former Pope Benedict XVI after revealing Benedict was “very ill” Wednesday.

Benedict, who is 95 years old, retired from the papacy in 2013 and handed the role to Francis. Francis told attendees during a General Audience at the Vatican earlier today, that his predecessor was sick and needed prayer, according to the transcript of Francis’ remarks.

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“I would like to ask you all for a special prayer for Pope Emeritus Benedict, who is supporting the Church in silence,” Francis stated. “Remember him – he is very ill – asking the Lord to console him and to sustain him in this witness of love for the Church, until the end.”

Matteo Bruni, a Vatican spokesperson, confirmed that the former pope’s health had deteriorated and was being attended by his physicians, according to CNN.

“[I]n the last few hours there has been a deterioration due to the advancement of (Benedict’s) age,” Bruni explained. “The situation at the moment remains under control and continually monitored by his doctors.”

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Benedict’s health has been a topic of concern since 2018 after the former pope released a letter in 2018 addressing his “waning” health, according to Aleteia.

“I can only say that in the slow waning of my physical forces, inwardly I am on a pilgrimage towards Home,” Benedict wrote. “It is a great grace for me to be surrounded, on this last part of the road, sometimes a bit tiring, by such love and goodness that I never could have imagined.”

Not long after, reports surfaced in 2020 that Benedict was suffering from a “painful but not serious” illness, according to CNN. Bruni stated that Pope Francis visited Benedict in the Mater Ecclesiae monastery in Vatican City after his appearance at the general audience.

The Vatican did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

This story originally was published by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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