Pope Francis made mention today of his predecessor Benedict XVI, warning that he is very ill and asking for prayers for him. He gave the news at the end of today's general audience.
"We ask the Lord to console and sustain you in this witness of love for the Church, until the end," Pope Francis added at the end of the traditional Wednesday audience, which today was dedicated to St. Francis de Sales, on the four hundredth anniversary of his death.
A few minutes later, the director of the Holy See Press Office, Matteo Bruni, stated the following: "Regarding the state of health of the Pope Emeritus, for whom Pope Francis asked for prayers at the end of this morning's general audience, I can confirm that in the last few hours there has been a worsening due to advancing age. For the moment, the situation remains under control, constantly monitored by doctors."
The Holy See Press Office also informs that "at the end of the general audience, Pope Francis went to the monastery Mater Ecclesiae to visit Benedict XVI. We join him in praying for the Pope Emeritus".
On the other hand, according to the official Vatican news agency, the textual words of Pope Francis were: "I would like to ask you all for a special prayer for Pope Emeritus Benedict, who is silently supporting the Church. Remember him - he is very ill - asking the Lord to console him, and to sustain him in this testimony of love for the Church, until the end".
Benedict XVI's health has been stable in recent times, but his condition is very fragile, and the Pope's words have raised further concern. Benedict XVI's personal secretary, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, has said on several occasions this year that "he is fragile, but he is well".
In these years, the Pope emeritus is being assisted, according to the same agency, by the consecrated women of the Association. Memores Domini Georg Gänswein, who over the years has always spoken of a life dedicated to prayer, music, study and reading.
Benedict XVI was born on April 16, 1927, was elected Pope on April 19, 2005 in the conclave that took place after the death of St. John Paul II, resigned on February 28, 2013, and turned 95 on Holy Saturday. Since his resignation, he has been residing in the monastery Mater Ecclesiae inside the Vatican.
On numerous occasions, Vatican News adds, Pope Francis has spoken of the bond with his predecessor, whom he called "father" and "brother" at the Angelus of June 29, 2021, on the occasion of Ratzinger's 70th anniversary of ordination to the priesthood. Also, since the beginning of his pontificate, Pope Francis began the "tradition" of meeting with the Pope Emeritus, starting with the first historic visit of the newly elected Pope, who arrived by helicopter at the residence of Castel Gandolfo, where his predecessor stayed for a few weeks before moving to the monastery. Mater Ecclasiae.
On the eve of the Christmas or Easter vacations, or on the occasion of consistories with the new cardinals, Pope Francis has never wanted to miss a gesture of closeness and courtesy and come to the Vatican monastery to greet him and express his best wishes.