The Roman Catholic Church in Vatican has confirmed that Pope Benedict XVI’s health has greatly deteriorated in the last few hours and has aksed the faithful to pray for the 95-year-old former pontiff who resigned from the post nine years ago.
Born Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI voted as the religious head of the Vatican in 2005, relinquished the Papacy in 2013 citing a lack of strength in the body and has continued living privately in the Vatican.
According to the Holy See Press Director Matteo Bruno, the German’s health condition has worsened over the last hours due to advancing age but the “situation remains under control, constantly followed by doctors.”
Bruni says that Pope Francis has paid a visit to his predecessor and asked for a special prayer for Benedict.
“I want to ask you all for a special prayer for Pope Emeritus Benedict who sustains the Church in his silence. He is very sick,” Francis said during his general audience at the Vatican on Wednesday.
“We ask the Lord to console and sustain him in this witness of love for the Church to the very end.” He added.
In 2020, the Vatican said Benedict had suffered from a “painful but not serious condition,” following reports in German media that he was ill.