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Pope Benedict in a ‘stable but serious condition’, Vatican says

by Kelly Valencia

Vatican City has released an update on former Pope Benedict XVI’s health.

On Wednesday, his successor Pope Francis asked believers to pray for the former Pope as he was “very sick”.

Doctors said the 95-year-old's health had deteriorated due to his age.

Now the Vatican has said that Pope Benedict’s condition remains serious but that he is “lucid and alert”.

The statement read: "The Pope Emeritus was able to rest well last night. He is absolutely lucid and alert today, although his condition remains serious, the situation at the moment is stable. Pope Francis renews his invitation to pray for him and accompany him in these difficult hours."

Meanwhile, many church leaders have taken to social media to share their prayers for the former Pope.

The head of the Catholic Church in Britain wrote on Twitter: “Let us join with Pope Francis in praying for Pope Emeritus Benedict, and asking the Lord to sustain and console him at this time.”

Speaking to Times Radio, Cardinal Vincent Nichols also reflected on the former Pope’s legacy and said he would be remembered as “one of the great theologians of the 20th century”.

He also mentioned the “great affinity” between Pope Benedict and the late Queen, especially seen during his visit to the UK in 2010.

He said: “When Benedict decided to come to this country [in 2010], he decided that the first thing he had to do was visit the Queen. She held her office to the end and I think he admired that very much.”

Nichols said he believed the former Pope’s historic decision to resign from his post due to advancing age in 2013 would remain “an exception”.

“This is the first time in 600 years, so who knows what might develop. I think it will remain an exception myself. It was a measure of his self-understanding and the difficulties he was getting into physically that he said no, it needs somebody else to do this.”

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