The ailing former Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI remains “lucid and aware”, the Vatican said on Thursday, as his successor, Pope Francis, again called for prayer to “accompany him in these difficult times”.
Francis revealed for the first time on Wednesday that his 95-year-old predecessor was “very ill” as he called for prayers after visiting him.
In an update Thursday, Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said Benedict XVI “managed to rest well last night” and “is absolutely lucid and aware.”
While “his condition remains serious, the situation at the moment is stable,” Bruni said.
“Pope Francis renews the invitation to pray for him and to accompany him in these difficult times,” the Vatican spokesman said.
Benedict is being treated at the Mater Ecclesiae monastery inside the Vatican, where he has lived since February 2013, when he became the first pope in around 600 years to step down rather than rule for life, citing ill health.
Francis visited him at his monastery on Wednesday after giving his general audience, the Vatican said.
Bruni said Benoît’s health had “deteriorated in recent hours due to advanced age” and that he was “constantly monitored by doctors”.
Responding to the call to prayer, the Diocese of Rome has scheduled a special Mass in honor of Benedict on Friday at St. John Lateran, the former basilica of Benedict in his capacity as bishop of Rome.
News of his ill health also sparked an outpouring of support from religious leaders around the world, including Cardinal Timothy Dolan in New York.
“With great faith in the goodness of God, I join Pope Francis in praying for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, and I ask the faithful Catholics of the Archdiocese of New York, and all good people to go likewise,” Dolan said Wednesday.
With post wires