Pope Francis Calls For Prayers For ‘Very Ill’ 95-Year-Old Pope Benedict


Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s health has suddenly “worsened” recently, the Vatican said on Wednesday after Pope Francis asked for prayers for the former pontiff.

The Holy See said Benedict was receiving constant medical care.

“I would like to ask all of you for a special prayer for Pope Emeritus Benedict, who, in silence, is sustaining the Church,” Francis said at the end of his general audience earlier on Wednesday. “He is very sick, asking the Lord to console and sustain him in this witness of love for the Church until the end.”

Later, Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni added: “I can confirm that in the last few hours, his condition worsened due to age. The situation at present is under control, constantly monitored by doctors.”

Benedict, 95, in 2013 became the first pope in more than 600 years to resign amid the clerical sexual abuse scandal that engulfed the church. He has been living in the Vatican since then.

Formerly the Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany, Benedict was born in Marktl Inn, Bavaria, in 1927. Benedict was drafted into the German anti-aircraft corps at 16 and was briefly detained by United States troops in 1945 before being released back to the seminary.

In 1951, Benedict was ordained into the priesthood, rising to become the head of the Catholic church in 2005 at the age of 78.

An independent report in January found the former pope had failed to act in four cases of sexual assault when he served as the Archbishop of Munich from 1977 to 1982. He later apologized for handling the cases but admitted no wrongdoing.

Since his retirement, the former pope has largely stayed out of the public eye.