Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI’s health is deteriorating.

The Vatican said on Wednesday that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s health has gotten worse as a result of his advanced age and that his condition is being closely watched by medical professionals.

Pope Francis, who earlier on Wednesday requested prayers for Benedict from the faithful, visited the monastery where the retired pontiff has resided since his retirement in February 2013, according to Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni.

“I can affirm that there has been a worsening owing to advanced age in the last few hours with regard to the emeritus pope’s health problems, for whom Pope Francis asked for prayers at the conclusion of his general audience this morning,” Bruni said in a written statement.

The statement reads, “The situation at this time is under control, continually watched by doctors.”

Francis deviated from his scheduled statements at the conclusion of his routine Wednesday encounter with the general public in a Vatican auditorium to announce that Benedict is “extremely unwell” and urged the faithful to pray for the retiring pontiff.

Regarding Benedict’s health, Francis made no more comments.

“Near the close of an hour-long audience, Francis added, “I’d like to ask all of you for a special prayer for Emeritus Pope Benedict, who, in quiet, is maintaining the church. Francis said, “I remind you that he is really unwell.

“Let’s pray to the Lord to give him comfort and endurance till the very end of his witness of love to the church, stated Francis.

after the audience of an hour, “To see Benedict XVI, Pope Francis travelled to the Mater Ecclesiae convent. Bruni urged everyone to join him in prayer for the retired pope.

In recent years, Benedict, the first pope to step down in 600 years, has grown more feeble as he devoted his post-papal life to prayer and meditation.

The retired pontiff was in high spirits when he turned 95 in April, according to his lifelong secretary, Archbishop Georg Gaenswein, who also noted that he was “naturally he is physically relatively frail and feeble, but rather coherent.”

Four months ago, Francis visited Benedict at the monastery. The occasion was Francis’ most recent ceremony conferring cardinal rank on church members, and the newly appointed “princes of the church” joined him for the quick welcome.

When the picture was taken, the Vatican made it public. It showed a very thin-looking Benedict holding Francis’ hand and grinning at him.

In his early years of retirement, Benedict attended a few ceremonies in St. Peter’s Basilica to elevate cardinals. However, he had lost his ability to attend the lengthy service in recent years.

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