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Pope Francis announces that Benedict XVI is very ill and asks for prayers

“I would like to ask all of you for a special prayer for Pope Emeritus Benedict,” because “he is very ill, asking the Lord to comfort and sustain him,” Francis said at his general audience.

Shortly afterwards, the Vatican confirmed to the press the worsening of the expope’s health condition and specified that the German theologian is under medical surveillance and received a visit from his successor, Pope Francis.

“I can confirm that in the course of the last few hours, there has been a worsening, due to his advanced age. The situation is for the moment under control, followed permanently by the doctors,” Matteo Bruni, director of the Holy See’s press service, said in a statement.

The first pope to resign in six centuries

Benedict XVI became in 2013 the first pope to resign in six centuries, and since then has lived virtually withdrawn from the public spotlight.

Based on the few photographs that have been published of him, his health has been deteriorating.

In 2013, he mentioned precisely his “lack of strength” due to his advanced age among the reasons why he decided to resign to remain head of the Catholic Church.

In April, his longtime secretary, Archbishop Georg Gaenswein, told Vatican News that the pope emeritus was “relatively weak,” although “in good spirits.”

With information from Univision

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