Pope Emeritus Benedict (95) is “gravely ill”, his successor Pope Francis (86) announced on Wednesday.
Francis asked for prayer for his predecessor: “Remember him, he is very ill. I ask God to comfort and support him in this testimony of love for the Church until the end,” Francis said. Francis and the Holy See initially did not provide any additional details.
In recent months, the Pope Emeritus has been very weak. Benedict’s closest confidant, Archbishop Georg Ganswein (66), told BILD in April: “Benedict cannot speak, he whispers. A speech therapist comes to him twice a week to help him not completely forget to speak. But only those who are with him every day can understand him.
There have been concerns about Benedict’s health over the years. In 2020, he visited his dying brother Georg Ratzinger in Bavaria. Even then he was dependent on a wheelchair. After the visit, Benedict fell ill with a facial rosacea.
“Benedict misses his brother and continues to listen to CDs with his Regensburger Domspatzen,” says Conswein.
Joseph Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI. From 2005 to 2013 at the Holy See in Rome. He was the first pope in 600 years to voluntarily resign due to lack of strength.
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