Pope Emeritus Benedict's 'condition remains serious,' Vatican says

The Vatican said the health of Pope Benedict, 95, worsened on Wednesday.

ByPhoebe Natanson and Kevin Shalvey ABCNews logo
Thursday, December 29, 2022
Pope Benedict's 'condition remains serious,' Vatican says
The Vatican says Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is lucid, conscious and stable, but his condition remains serious.

VATICAN CITY -- A day after news emerged that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI's health had worsened within a few hours, a Vatican official updated Thursday that he "is absolutely lucid and alert."

"Although his condition remains serious, the situation at the moment is stable," Holy See Press Office Director Matteo Bruni told reporters.

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

On Wednesday, Bruni said "the situation at the moment remains under control and is constantly followed by doctors," adding that he could "confirm that in the last few hours there has been an worsening of his condition due to advancing age."

The comments came after Pope Francis asked for prayers in his morning audience for Benedict, who is 95.

"I ask to all of you a special prayer for the Pope Emeritus Benedict, who, in silence, is sustaining the church," the pope said.

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

"We join him in praying for the Pope Emeritus," Bruni said.

The Vatican last released video footage of Benedict in August, when the newest cardinals visited with him as part of a tradition that's been ongoing since Francis became pope.

Benedict's condition reportedly had worsened in the days before Christmas, according to Italian news agency ANSA, which cited "qualified sources." ANSA reported Benedict had begun to suffer from "respiratory problems" in the days before the holiday.

Benedict spent Christmas at his residence in the Vatican at the former Mater Ecclesiae Monastery, where a Christmas mass was celebrated for him in the little chapel in his home, ANSA reported.

ABC News' Joe Simonetti contributed to this report.