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Pope Francis asks for prayers for the “very ill” Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, 95

VATICAN CITY (AP) – Pope Francis on Wednesday said his predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, is “very ill” and asked the faithful to pray for the retired pontiff that God comfort him “until the end.”

Francis did not elaborate on the condition of Benedict, who resigned as pontiff in February 2013, the first pope to retire in 600 years.

Benedict, 95, lives in a convent in the Vatican. He has become increasingly frail in recent years as he devotes his post-papal life to prayer and meditation.

“I would like to ask all of you for a special prayer for Pope Emeritus Benedict, who, in silence, supports the Church,” Francis said in a speech near the end of an hour-long audience. “I remind you that he is very ill,” added Francis.

“Let us ask the Lord to console him and support him in this testimony of love for the Church until the end,” Francis said.

It wasn’t clear whether Francis was talking about Benedict’s health in general or whether his predecessor had any illnesses.

A Vatican spokesman, asked about Benedict’s condition, said the press office was looking for details.

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