Former Pope Benedict is 'very sick', says the Vatican

Former Pope Benedict is ‘very sick’, says the Vatican and asks for prayers for the 95-year-old

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Pope Francis has called for prayers for his predecessor, the former Pope Benedict XVI, who he claims is ‘very sick’. 

Francis made the surprise appeal at the end of his general audience at the Vatican this morning, giving no details. 

Benedict, 95, served as the head of the Church and the sovereign of the Vatican City State from April 2005 until his resignation in February 2013.

Benedict, who is living in a monastery on the Vatican’s grounds, was the first pontiff to resign in 600 years and cited advancing age as a key factor limiting his capabilities to carry out his papal duties. 

In this Nov. 28, 2020 file photo, Pope Francis (R) hold hands with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI (L) as he pays him a visit at the Vatican

Francis has previously hailed the decision of his predecessor to resign amid old age.

It was his stepping down that paved the way for Francis’ election as the first pope from South America.

Catholic church law requires a papal resignation be ‘freely and properly manifested’ – as was the case when Benedict startled the world when he announced his resignation to a gathering of prelates at the Vatican in February 2013.

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