Vatican says well being of retired pope Benedict XVI ‘worsening’

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VATICAN CITY — Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI ‘s health has worsened over the past hours due to advanced age and doctors are constantly monitoring his condition, the Vatican said Wednesday, as Pope Francis appealed to the faithful to pray for his “very ill” predecessor “until the end.”

Vatican spokesperson Matteo Bruni said Francis went to visit the frail, 95-year-old Benedict in the monastery on Vatican grounds where he has lived since retiring in February 2013.

“Regarding the health condition of the emeritus pope, for whom Pope Francis asked for prayers at the end of his general audience this morning, I can confirm that in the last hours, a worsening due to advanced age has happened,’’ Bruni stated in a written assertion.

“The scenario in the intervening time stays underneath management, consistently monitored by docs,” the assertion stated.

On the finish of his customary Wednesday viewers with the general public in a Vatican auditorium, Francis departed from his ready remarks to say that Benedict is “very ill” and requested the trustworthy to hope for the retired pontiff.

Francis didn’t elaborate on Benedict’s situation.

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

After the hour-long viewers, “Pope Francis went to the Mater Ecclesiae monastery to visit Benedict XVI. Let us all unite with him in prayer for the emeritus pope,″ Bruni said.

Benedict, who was the first pontiff to resign in 600 years, has become increasingly frail in recent years as he dedicated his post-papacy life to prayer and meditation.

When Benedict turned 95 in April, his longtime secretary, Archbishop Georg Gaenswein, said the retired pontiff was in good spirits, adding that “naturally he is physically relatively weak and fragile, but rather lucid.”

Francis additionally paid a go to to Benedict on the monastery 4 months in the past. The event was Francis’ newest ceremony elevating churchmen to cardinal rank, and the brand new “princes of the church” accompanied him to the monastery for the transient greeting.

The Vatican launched a photograph on the time that confirmed a really thin-looking Benedict clasping Francis’ hand as the present and previous pontiff smiled at one another.

In his first years of retirement, Benedict attended a few cardinal-elevating ceremonies in St. Peter’s Basilica. However in recent times, he wasn’t sturdy sufficient to attend the lengthy service.

He was elevated to cardinal’s rank in 1977 by the then-pontiff, Paul VI. As Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the German prelate and theologian lengthy served because the Vatican’s doctrinal orthodox watchdog. He was elected pontiff in 2005.

Benedict startled a room filled with Vatican prelates by asserting, in Latin, in February 2013 that he would step down as pope in two weeks. Some church traditionalists have been dismayed by his determination.

Francis has praised Benedict’s determination as a brave acknowledgement that bodily frailty now not left him in a position to totally serve the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics.

Given his personal well being historical past, together with a knee ligament drawback that has compelled him to make use of a wheelchair or a cane, Francis has stated that retirement is one thing he’d think about, if the scenario warranted it.

In an interview earlier this month with Spanish newspaper ABC, Francis revealed that shortly after fellow cardinals elected him to succeed Benedict within the papacy, he wrote a resignation letter to have available in case medical issues impeded him from finishing up his duties.

However in the identical interview, Francis performed down his mobility problem, saying one governs with the pinnacle, not the knee.

In Benedict’s native Germany, the pinnacle of that nation’s bishops’ convention, Limburg Bishop Georg Baetzing, joined in Francis’ name for prayers.

“My thoughts are with the emeritus pope,” Baetzing informed German information company dpa. “I call on the faithful in Germany to pray for Benedict XVI.”

In Berlin, Chancellor Olaf Scholz “wishes the German pope, as we say, a good recovery and his thoughts are with him,” authorities spokesperson Christiane Hoffmann stated throughout a daily authorities information convention.

Geir Moulson contributed from Berlin.

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