Despite being “lucid and watchful,” Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s condition is nonetheless critical, the Vatican stated in a statement on Thursday. Director of the Vatican communications office Matteo Bruni said that although the situation is now stable, the patient is “completely conscious and aware.”
Pope Francis extends the call to prayer and to be with him during these trying times. After declining health, Pope Francis declared on Wednesday that his 95-year-old predecessor was “extremely unwell.” “Please say a special prayer for Pope Emeritus Benedict, who upholds the Church through his silence.
I ask this of all of you. He is gravely ill, “Francis remarked Wednesday at the Vatican’s public audience. We pray that the Lord will comfort and keep him strong as he continues to show his love for the Church.
Later on Wednesday, a Vatican official revealed that Benedict’s condition had deteriorated “in the last few hours” and that Francis had paid Benedict a visit at the Mater Ecclesiae convent in Vatican City. Pope Benedict XVI shocked the world in 2013 when he announced his resignation from the papacy, citing his “advanced age” as the reason.
The announcement of Benedict’s resignation was the first resignation of a pope in nearly 600 years. Gregory XII, the last pope to step down before dying, did so in 1415 to end a papal succession dispute within the Catholic Church.
Benedict’s health has been deteriorating for a while now. Following allegations in German media that Benedict was unwell, the Vatican stated in 2020 that he had a “painful but not dangerous ailment.”
Two years previously, Benedict stated that “with the progressive diminishing of my physical forces, inwardly I am on a pilgrimage toward Home” in a rare public letter published in the Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera.
For many years, Benedict has been a significant figure in the Catholic Church. Joseph Ratzinger, born in Germany in 1927, was ordained as a priest in 1951, elected a cardinal in 1977, and later served as Pope John Paul II’s top doctrinal advisor. After John Paul II’s passing in April 2005, he was chosen to become the 265th pope.
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At the height of the global controversy regarding Catholic clergy s*xual abuse, when the Church was being torn apart by allegations of s*xual assault and accompanying legal actions, Benedict was elected pope.
After a Church-commissioned inquiry into abuse by Catholic clergy was published in January. Recent criticism of his tenure as Archbishop of Munich and Freising between 1977 and 1982 cast doubt on his legacy.
The investigation revealed that he had attended a conference concerning an abusive priest and had been made aware of four incidences of s*xual abuse involving kids, including two while he was living in Munich, but had done nothing about them. Later, Benedict responded to those accusations by acknowledging his attendance at the meeting but refuting claims that he did so on purpose.
The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) said in a statement on Wednesday that many people would have “mixed sentiments” about Benedict’s life. Unfortunately, many victims of clergy abuse are still struggling to recover from their injuries and obtain the justice they are due, according to SNAP.
Matteo Bruni, director of the Vatican press office, said, “He is extremely lucid and vigilant, and today while his health is serious, the situation at the moment is stable.” Pope Francis has asked for prayers and supports again during this time.
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