Pope Francis asks for prayers for Benedict XVI
At the end of the general audience, Pope Francis asked for prayers for Benedict XVI, who “in silence is sustaining the Church.”
“I would like to ask all of you,” Pope Francis said, “for a special prayer for Pope Emeritus Benedict, who in silence is sustaining the Church. Remember him, he is very ill, asking the Lord to console him and sustain him in this witness of love for the Church until the end.”
Benedict XVI, 95, resigned as pontiff on Feb. 11, 2013, and his pontificate ended on Feb. 28, 2013. Since then, except for an initial interlude in Castel Gandolfo, he has lived in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican, first participating in some public events at Pope Francis’ request (the blessing of the statue of St. Michael the Archangel in the Vatican Museums, consistories, the opening of the Holy Door of the Extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy), then remaining in the monastery, maintaining constant contact with the outside world, and also receiving the new cardinals created after the Consistory.
Among the visits was the recent one by the Major Archbishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Sviatoslav Shevchuk last Nov. 10, who had then revealed a very present and lucid Pope Emeritus.
Pope Francis also prayed that God would grant peace “to the martyred Ukraine, oppressed by the brutality of war.”