Benedict’s health has been deteriorating, making him the first pope to step down in six centuries in 2013.
Francis concluded his general audience at the Vatican by requesting that everyone say a particular prayer for Pope Emeritus Benedict.
“Remember him, because he is very ill, asking the Lord to console and support him.”
Benedict’s health has reportedly gotten worse “in the last few hours,” and Francis visited him after his audience, according to the Vatican.
According to spokesman Matteo Bruni, “In the last few hours, there has been a deterioration due to advancing age,”
“The situation at the moment remains under control, monitored continually by doctors.”
In 2013, Benedict made the first papal resignation since 1415, citing his deteriorating physical and mental health as the reason for his decision.
Since then, Joseph Ratzinger, the German pope emeritus, has led a tranquil life in the Vatican’s former convent.
Two “men in white” — Benedict and his successor, Pope Francis — have coexisted inside the gates of the tiny city-state, which is an extraordinary position brought forth by his resignation.
Cardinal Mario Grech of Malta stated in 2020 that Benedict has difficulties expressing himself.
According to Grech of Vatican News, the ex-pope, who is in a wheelchair, claimed that“the Lord has taken away my speech in order to let me appreciate silence”.
In April, Benedict’s longtime secretary, Archbishop Georg Gaenswein, informed Vatican News that the former pontiff was in excellent spirits despite being physically relatively weak and vulnerable.
When Benedict took over for the long-reigning and well-liked John Paul II in April 2005, he was 78 years old.
Infighting within the Church and the pedophilia scandal plagued his pontificate.
He became the first pope to express “deep regret” and meet with victims of the abuse scandals that surfaced all over the world.
He was criticized for failing to put an end to Church cover-ups even though he made significant progress in addressing clergy child abuse.
In retirement, the pedophilia controversy has come back to haunt him.
He was accused of personally failing to stop four predatory priests in the 1980s while archbishop of Munich in a damning investigation for the German church in January 2022.
The Vatican vehemently defended Benedict’s record while he vehemently denied any misconduct.
The Rottweiler of God
Benedict is regarded as a conservative scholar, in contrast to his successor Pope Francis, a Jesuit who enjoys spending time with his followers.
As a chief theological enforcer, he was referred to as “God’s Rottweiler” in a prior position.
However, he gave off the impression of being overtaken by the difficulties of a Church that was losing authority and adherents, and the years of Vatican unrest took their toll.
He announced his resignation to cardinals in Latin in February 2013 and afterward claimed that a mystical experience led him to make the choice.
Francis, 86, has hinted that he would step down at some point.
He disclosed for the first time this month in an interview that he signed a letter of resignation almost ten years ago in the event that ill health prevented him from performing his duties.