Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is “lucid and alert” but his condition remains serious, the Vatican said Thursday in an update on the former pontiff’s health.
“He is completely lucid and alert, today his condition is critical and the situation is currently stable,” Matteo Bruni, director of the Vatican press office, said in a statement.
“Pope Francis renews his invitation to pray for him and accompany him in these difficult times.”
Pope Francis His 95-year-old predecessor announced on Wednesday that he was “very ill” after his health deteriorated.
“I would like to ask all of you for a special prayer for Pope Emeritus Benedict, who keeps the Church at peace. He is very ill,” Francis said during his general audience at the Vatican on Wednesday. “We ask God to comfort and sustain him in this witness of love for the Church until the end.”
A Vatican spokesman confirmed Wednesday that Benedict’s health had deteriorated “over the past few hours” and that he had visited the Mater Ecclesia monastery in Vatican City.
In 2013, Pope Benedict XVI shocked the world by making the almost unprecedented decision to resign from his position, citing his “advanced age.”
Benedict’s announcement marks the first time a pope has resigned in nearly 600 years. The last pope to resign before his death was Gregory XII, who left in 1415 to end a civil war within the Catholic Church in which more than one man claimed to be pope.
Benedict’s health had been deteriorating for some time. In 2020, the Vatican said Benedict suffered Following reports in the German media that he was ill, “in pain but not in a serious condition”.
Two years ago, A A rare public letter “Inwardly I am on a pilgrimage homeward as my physical powers slowly decline,” wrote Benedict, published in the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.
Benedict has been a powerful force in the Catholic Church for decades.
Born Joseph Ratzinger in Germany in 1927, he was ordained a priest in 1951, became a cardinal in 1977, and later served as chief theological adviser to Pope John Paul II. He was elected the 265th Pope in April 2005, following the death of John Paul II.
Benedict became pope at the height of a global sex-abuse scandal involving Catholic priests, with sex-abuse and related lawsuits tearing through the church and threatening its moral standing around the world.
His legacy is obscured by a recent study of his tenure as archbishop of Munich and Freising, between 1977 and 1982. Church-commissioned reporting on abuse Published in January by the Catholic clergy there.
The report found that he was informed of four sexual abuse cases involving minors – including two during his time in Munich – but failed to act, and that he attended a meeting about an abusive priest.
Benedict later pushed back against the allegations, admitting that he attended the meeting, but that he deliberately concealed his presence.
In a statement on Wednesday, the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) said many people had “mixed feelings” about Benedict’s life. “Unfortunately, many clergy abuse victims are not out of the woods to heal from their injuries and receive the justice they deserve,” SNAP wrote.