Former pope Benedict XVI is ‘very ill’: Vatican

Vatican City, Dec 28 (EFE).- The health of former pope Benedict XVI has worsened in recent hours, Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said Wednesday.

Bruni attributed the 95-year-old’s condition to his old age and said that the situation “at the moment remains under control,” providing no further details.

According to Bruni, Pope Francis went to visit his predecessor after his weekly general audience and urged the faithful to pray for him.

At the end of the General Audience Pope Francis asked for “special prayers” for Benedict XVI “who is very ill.”

“May the Lord sustain him in this witness of love for the Church until the end,” Francis said.

Benedict XVI’s last picture was published by the Joseph Ratzinger Foundation on December 1, when the retired pontiff received two prize winners at his home. He was seen sitting on a couch next to his assistant Georg Ganswein.

The German cleric was forced to give a statement in February this year over accusations he mishandled several alleged child sex abuse cases involving priests when he was archbishop of Munich.

“I have had great responsibilities in the Catholic Church. All the greater is my pain for the abuses and the errors that occurred in those different places during the time of my mandate,” he said in a historic public statement.

Benedict XVI resigned in 2013, becoming the first pope to do so since Gregory XII at the beginning of the 15th century, and has since lived in relative seclusion.EFE


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