Vatican says former Pope’s condition remains ‘grave’

Pope Benedict news – latest: Vatican says former Pope’s condition remains ‘grave’

Pope Benedict XVI is very ill, with Pope Francis asking for prayers ‘to accompany him in these difficult hours’

The Vatican has said former Pope Benedict’s condition remains “grave” but stable, after Pope Francis said the former pontiff is “very ill”.

“The Pope Emeritus managed to rest well during the night, he is absolutely lucid and aware, and today, even though his condition remains grave, the situation is at the moment stable,” Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said.

The Vatican previously said that the deterioration in his health was due to his “advanced age” and added that Benedict was being constantly monitored by doctors.

Pope Francis had said on Wednesday: “I would like to ask all of you for a special prayer for Pope Emeritus Benedict, who, in silence, is sustaining the Church. Let us remember him.

“He is very sick, asking the Lord to console and sustain him in this witness of love for the Church, until the end.”

The latest statement did not provide any specifics about Benedict’s condition, but Francis repeated a call for prayer to “accompany” Benedict “in these difficult hours”

Benedict, who is 95, became the first pope in some 600 years to resign in 2013. He has been living in the Vatican since then.