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Pope Emeritus Benedict’s ‘condition remains serious,’ Vatican says

Rome and London — A day after news broke that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s health had deteriorated within hours, Vatican officials updated Thursday that he was “perfectly lucid and alert.”

“His condition remains serious, but his current situation is stable.

The Vatican also renewed a call from the current pope to pray for the former pope.

On Wednesday, Bruni said “the current situation is under control and is constantly being monitored by doctors,” adding, “I have been able to confirm that there has been an age-related deterioration in the last few hours.”

File photo: Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI shows a gesture at Munich Airport before his departure to Rome, June 22, 2020. Former Pope Benedict visited his native Germany in 2020 to visit his ailing brother.

Sven Hoppe/Pool via Reuters

The comment came after Pope Francis asked for prayers at his morning audience for 95-year-old Benedict.

“I ask everyone to pray for Pope Benedict, who silently supports the Church,” the pope said.

Francis visited his predecessor, who resigned in 2013, at the Mater Ecclesia Monastery later in the day, Bruni said Wednesday.

File photo: Former Pope Benedict (right) is greeted by Pope Francis at a ceremony marking the 65th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood at the Vatican on June 28, 2016.

File photo: Former Pope Benedict (right) is greeted by Pope Francis at a ceremony marking the 65th anniversary of his priestly ordination in the Vatican on June 28, 2016.

Vatican Media/Reuters

“We join him in praying for Pope Emeritus,” said Bruni.

The Vatican last released video footage of Benedict in August, when the newest cardinal visited Benedict as part of a tradition that has continued since Francis became Pope.

Benedict’s condition reportedly worsened in the days before Christmas, according to Italian news agency ANSA, citing “qualified sources.” reported that he began to suffer from “system problems”.

Photo: Former Pope Benedict

Pope Benedict receives the “Premio Ratzinger” laureates at the Vatican on December 1, 2022.

Fondazione Ratzinger via Reuters

Benedict spent Christmas in the Vatican’s former Martell Ecclesier Abbey mansion, and Christmas Mass was celebrated for him in a small chapel at his home, ANSA reported.

Joe Simonetti of ABC News contributed to this report.