– Former Pope Benedict XVI is “clear”, his health is “stable”.
“The Pope rested well last night,” Italian news agency Anza reported Thursday. Francis asked for prayers for his predecessor.
Former Pope Benedict XVI, whose successor Francis called for prayers on Wednesday, was in serious but stable condition on Thursday. This is according to Vatican sources quoted by the Italian agency Ansa.
“Last night the Pope rested well, was awake and completely lucid, and today, although his condition is serious, the situation at this point is stable,” Vatican Press, Matteo Bruni, said in a statement.
He added that Pope Francis “renew the invitation to pray for him and accompany him in these difficult times”. François announced that his predecessor was “gravely ill” and was praying for the renunciate in 2013 for health reasons.
“His condition deteriorated three days ago. His vital functions, including his heart, are failing,” a Vatican source told AFP, adding that no hospitalization was planned, adding that Benedict XVI’s residence is equipped with the necessary medical equipment.
In the heart of the Vatican Gardens
Francis himself visited Benedict on Wednesday the 16th at the Mater Ecclesiae monastery, the home of the pontiff emeritus in the heart of the Vatican Gardens.
The former pope has appeared increasingly frail in recent months, getting around in a wheelchair but regularly receiving visitors. Photographs of his last visit, obtained on December 1, showed a frail and frail man.
In the last public video of Benedict XVI, released by the Vatican in August, we see a thin man, fitted with a hearing aid, who can no longer speak but whose vision is still lively.
Eric de Moulins-Beaufort, president of the French Synod of Bishops, tweeted a message of support for Benedict XVI: “Lord, Catholics of France, in solidarity with Pope Francis and the whole Church, entrust your servant to you. Benedict XVI and his overseers.” Senior church leaders in Italy, Germany, the United States and South America issued similar messages.
A request for “forgiveness”.
A Mass will be celebrated for him on Friday at the Roman Basilica of Saint John Lateran, which directly belongs to the Vatican. The conservative Benedict XVI, whose eight-year pontificate (2005-2013) was marked by many crises, was caught up in the church’s child abuse drama in early 2022.
Questioned by a report in Germany about his handling of sexual abuse during his tenure as archbishop of Munich, he came out of his silence to “apologise” but insist he was not covering up a minor crime.
His abdication, announced in Latin on February 11, 2013, was a personal decision related to his weak strength, not the pressure of scandals, the former pope assured in a book of faith published in 2016.
Although he did not reach the popularity of his charismatic predecessor John Paul II, Benedict XVI is a highly respected figure in the Catholic world, especially for his qualities as a great theologian.
Leak of confidential documents
Most Italian newspapers carried the pope’s call to pray for him on their front pages on Thursday, with the Corriere della Serra illustrating it on the front page with a photo of the former pope whispering in Francis’ ear.
As head of the Catholic Church, he defended a conservative policy, particularly on abortion, homosexuality or euthanasia.
His statements on Islam, the use of condoms against HIV or the excommunication of four fundamentalist bishops in 2009 have sometimes caused shock.
His pontificate in 2012 was marked by the leaking of secret documents (“Whatleaks”) arranged by his butler. The scandal exposed the Roman Curia (Vatican government) for manipulation and a lack of fiscal rigor.