By Linda Bordoni
Concluding the General Audience on Wednesday, Pope Francis invited the faithful to say a "special prayer" for his 95-year-old predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
“I would like to ask you all for a special prayer for Pope Emeritus Benedict, who in silence is supporting the Church. Remember him - he is very ill - asking the Lord to console him, and sustain him in this witness of love for the Church, until the end.”
Answering questions put to him by journalists, the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Matteo Bruni, confirmed, "In the last few hours there has been an aggravation of his health due to advancing age.”
He added that the situation “at the moment remains under control,” and that the Pope Emeritus is constantly monitored by doctors.
Mr. Bruni also said that after the General Audience in the Paul VI Hall, Pope Francis went to the Mater Ecclesiae monastery in the Vatican where Benedict XVI resides.
“We join him in prayer for the Pope Emeritus,” Mr. Bruni said.