Pope Francis has asked pilgrims to pray for Pope Benedict XVI following his deteriorating health condition. He made the call at the end of his final audience of the year.
The Vatican says the health of the 95-year-old pope Benedict XVI had worsen in the recent hours.
“I ask to all of you for a special prayer for Pope Emeritus Benedict,” Francis told pilgrims at his general audience Wednesday, asking God to console and sustain Benedict “until the end.”
The Vatican, in its statement, said the situation “at the moment remains under control, and is constantly followed by the doctors”.
Pope Benedict XVI is a retired prelate of the Catholic Church who served as the head of the Church and the sovereign of the Vatican City State from 19 April 2005 until his resignation on 28 February 2013.
Benedict’s election as pope occurred in the 2005 papal conclave that followed the death of Pope John Paul II.
Pope Francis was addressing a general audience in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall when he looked up from a piece of paper and spoke about Benedict’s declining health.
He said he visited the retired pope at the Mater Ecclesiae monastery, where Benedict has lived since, he stepped down.