Pope Francis says predecessor Benedict 'very ill', prays for him in address
Pope Francis said on Wednesday that his predecessor – Benedict XVI – is very ill and also requested people to pray for his health. Benedict, who was the first person to resign from the position in over six centuries, has been suffering for some time and the Vatican said that condition is getting worse.
"I would like to ask all of you to pray a special prayer for Pope Emeritus Benedict," Francis said.
"Remember him, because he is very ill, asking the Lord to console and support him."
The official statement released by the Vatican City and the Catholic Church stated that things have worsened "in the last few hours" and confirmed that Francis visited him after his audience.
"In the last few hours there has been a deterioration due to advancing age," spokesman Matteo Bruni said. "The situation at the moment remains under control, monitored continually by doctors."
The main reason behind Benedict’s decision to step down from his position was his physical and mental health issues. Since then, Joseph Ratzinger – his name before he became the Pope - has been living in a former convent inside the Vatican with regular health check-ups.
In the past, the Vatican has said that Benedict had difficulty “in expressing himself".
Benedict’s reign as the top member of the Catholic Church was filed with controversies but he also became the first person in his position to apologise for the paedophilia and abuse scandals against clergymen. He even expressed "deep remorse" and meet several survivors during his tenure.