Pope Francis has issued a request for people to pray for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, his 95-year-old predecessor, who is gravely ill. The Vatican News account on Twitter posted as follows:
“I would like to ask you all for a special prayer for Pope Emeritus Benedict who in silence is supporting the Church. Remember him – he is very ill – asking the Lord to console him, and sustain him in this witness of love for the Church, until the end,” the message said, ending with the hashtag #PopeFrancis
The Pope made the request this morning following the General Audience. The director of the Holy See Press Office, Matteo Bruni, has confirmed that “there has been an aggravation of the health of the Pope Emeritus due to advancing age”, but said the situation remained under control and that he is constantly monitored by doctors.
Following the General Audience, Pope Francis went to the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican, which is where Benedict XVI resides.
The Vatican News website has published a prayer for the health of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, as follows:
“Let us pray. Almightly and Eternal God, You are the everlasting health of those who believe in You. Hear our prayers for your sick servant Benedict for whom we implore the aid of Your tender mercy. Through Christ our Lord. Amen”.