Is Pope Benedict sick? Prayers pour in as Pope Francis provides concerning update 

Pope Francis has announced that Pope Benedict has fallen "very sick" (Image via Getty Images)
Pope Francis has announced that Pope Benedict has fallen "very sick" (Image via Getty Images)

Former leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict, is reportedly “very sick,” as announced by his successor Pope Francis. The concerning update came to light as the latter asked people to keep Benedict in prayer during the general audience at the Vatican on Wednesday, December 28:

“I want to ask you all for a special prayer for Pope Emeritus Benedict who sustains the Church in his silence. He is very sick. We ask the Lord to console and sustain him in this witness of love for the Church to the very end.”

Shortly after, Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni issued an official statement confirming that there has been “deterioration” in the former pontiff’s health “in the last few hours" due to "advancement of age.”


Bruni shared that Pope Francis visited his predecessor at the Mater Ecclesiae monastery in Vatican City following his general audience. The spokesperson also added that the situation was under control and the Pope’s condition was being monitored by healthcare professionals:

“The situation at the moment remains under control and continually monitored by his doctors.”

Since his resignation as the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, the 95-year-old has reportedly been residing in a former convent inside the Vatican gardens with his secretary, Archbishop Georg Ganswein, as well as other aides and medical staff.

Netizens and various other personalities pray for Pope Benedict following latest health update

The news about Pope Benedict’s ill health prompted Catholic Church leaders from around the world to call on their followers for prayers. Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Washington, DC, took to Twitter to ask Catholics and “folks of good will to pray for Benedict XVI.”

The Archbishop of Munich, German Cardinal Reinhard Marx, included the Pope in his prayers:

"This morning I received the news that there is great concern in Rome about the health of the Pope Emeritus. And so we especially want to include him in our prayers.”

Head of the Italy's Bishop’s conference, Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, also asked churchgoers to keep Pope Benedict in their thoughts “in this moment of suffering and trial.”

According to Reuters, one of Pope Benedict’s latest photographs was taken on December 1 when the former pontiff met the winners of a prize for theologians named after him.

He reportedly remained seated throughout and looked weak during the event. The publication also noted that those who visited him until a few weeks ago allegedly said that his mind was still sharp, although his body appeared frail.

While Italian news outlets mentioned that the religious leader suffered from respiratory problems over the Christmas period, the Vatican did not share details of his health condition. However, on Wednesday, Pope Francis revealed that his predecessor Pope Benedict had fallen ill and urged people to keep the former pontiff in their prayers.

As the Vatican confirmed Benedict’s health condition had deteriorated over the last few hours, several social media users took to Twitter to join religious leaders and Catholics in their prayer for the noted Pope:

During his tenure, Benedict became the first German pope in 1000 years. He was elected on April 19, 2005 and succeeded the well-known Pope John Paul II, who reigned for 27 years.

Prior to his position in the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI served as the head of the Vatican's doctrinal office, the-then Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger for nearly 25 years.


Benedict served as the Pope for eight years before shockingly stepping down from his role and filing his resignation on February 11, 2013. He cited advanced age as the cause of resignation and became the first leader of the Catholic Church to step down in 600 years.

The religious leader formally left his role on February 28, 2013.

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Edited by Barsha Roy
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