Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI ‘very sick’, says Pope Francis

Wednesday - 28/12/2022 11:29 Author: Editors Desk Source: The Guardian
Liberal incumbent pope asks God to comfort and support retired conservative pope until ‘the end’
Pope Francis, right, shakes hands with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in the Vatican in August. Photograph: Vatican Media/EPA
Pope Francis, right, shakes hands with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in the Vatican in August. Photograph: Vatican Media/EPA

Pope Francis has said his retired predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, is “very sick” and asked for God to comfort him until “the end”.

The pontiff did not reveal the nature of the illness affecting Benedict, but towards the end of his audience on Wednesday said: “I would like to ask for a special prayer for Pope Emeritus Benedict, who in silence is supporting the church. I remind you that he is very sick. Let’s ask the Lord to comfort him and support him in this testimony of love for the church until the end.”

Benedict, 95, resigned as pontiff in 2013 and has since lived within the walls of the Vatican. He chose to be called Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI after the abdication, instead of reverting to Joseph Ratzinger.

The unusual relationship between the liberal incumbent pope and the conservative ex-pope, who still wears the white cassock, inspired the film The Two Popes. Commentators have said that while Benedict’s body has become frailer, his mind has remained sharp.

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