Vatican says health of retired pope Benedict XVI ‘worsening’

By FRANCES D’EMILIO

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The health of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has worsened due to his age, and doctors are constantly monitoring the frail 95-year-old’s condition, the Vatican said Wednesday.

Vatican spokesperson Matteo Bruni said Pope Francis, who asked the faithful earlier Wednesday to pray for Benedict, went to visit his predecessor in the monastery on Vatican grounds where the retired pontiff 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 said in a written statement.

“The situation at the moment remains under control, constantly monitored by doctors,” according to the statement.

At the end of his customary Wednesday audience with the public in a Vatican auditorium, Francis departed from his prepared remarks to say that Benedict is “very sick” and asked the faithful to pray for the retired pontiff.

Francis didn’t elaborate on Benedict’s condition.

“I would like to ask you all for a special prayer for Pope Emeritus Benedict, who is sustaining the church in silence,” Francis said. “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 audience, “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.

AP

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