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Benedict, who was “very ill,” Asked for prayers by Pope Francis

Former Pope Benedict XVI is reportedly in critical condition, and Pope Francis has urged Vatican visitors to pray for him.

In 2013, Benedict, 95, became the first pope to resign from his position in 600 years, citing advanced age.

The Pope urged attendees at his final audience of the year to “pray a special prayer for Pope Emeritus Benedict” at the conclusion of the meeting.

The Vatican then declared that the ex-condition Pope’s had gotten worse recently.

According to spokesman Matteo Bruni, “the issue is currently being closely monitored by doctors and is under control.”

In the Paul VI hall of the Vatican, Pope Francis was giving a general audience when he looked up from a piece of paper and mentioned Benedict’s failing health.

In order to visit Benedict at the Mater Ecclesiae monastery, where he has resided ever since he stepped down, he next made the quick trek from the hall to the Vatican Gardens.

Francis disclosed earlier this month that he routinely visited his predecessor.

He described Benedict as a “saint” and a person with a high level of spirituality, noting that the former pope was intelligent and had a wonderful sense of humor.

For some time, the former Pope had difficulty speaking, and two years ago, a Maltese cardinal claimed that Benedict had told newly elected cardinals that “the Lord has taken away my speech to let me appreciate silence.” Pope Francis told the Spanish daily ABC that the other person “speaks softly but listens to your discussion.”

Pope Francis was joined in prayer for his predecessor by cardinals from throughout the world. Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah, who until last year was the most senior African prelate at the Vatican, wrote, “Let us unite in fervent prayer for our dear Pope Emeritus in these difficult and severe circumstances.”

In August, the Pope brought young cardinals to meet Benedict at the Mater Ecclesiae monastery. Although Benedict appeared feeble, he shook their hands and talked with them all.

Less than eight years after being elected Pope as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Benedict XVI shocked Catholics all around the world by announcing his resignation at the age of 85 in February 2013.

No pope had resigned since Gregory XII did so in 1415.

Benedict had presided over the funeral Mass for John Paul, his predecessor. He was the seventh German to hold the office of Pope and was well-known for his orthodox, conservative viewpoints. He actively opposed liberation theology’s social action.

However, a scandal involving priests’ sexual abuse of children marred his pontificate. The scale of paedophilia and cover-ups within the Irish Church were described in two papers published in 2009; it later came to light that approximately 400 priests had been defrocked by Benedict in 2011 and 2012.

But earlier this year, the former Pope acknowledged handling sexual abuse cases improperly while he served as Munich’s archbishop from 1977 to 1982.

He neglected to take action in four cases, according to a German investigation that the Church had hired. While denying culpability, Benedict begged for pardon for any “grievous sin.”

The current archbishop of Munich, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, said he had seen Benedict in September and urged churchgoers to remember him in their prayers.

Pope Francis made it plain in his Spanish interview this month that he, too, had signed a letter of resignation in 2013 “in case of health limitation or anything,” delivering it to Cardinal Bertone, the Vatican secretary of state at the time. Benedict was the first Pope to step down in 600 years.

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