Pope Francis concluded his general audience on Wednesday by requesting prayer for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. Francis acknowledged Benedict’s health was declining and urged Catholics to pray for him. According to EWTN, he is “suffering from aggravated kidney failure and had a recent modification to his pacemaker”.
The Vatican has released a prayer for Benedict that Catholics are encouraged to use while praying for the him.
The prayer for Benedict is as follows:
Let us pray,
Almighty and Eternal God,
You are the everlasting health of those who believe in You.
Hear our prayers for your sick servant Benedict
For whom we implore the aid of your tender mercy.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Cardinal Matteo Zuppi acknowledged the cardinals were praying for Benedict during such a time.
“At this time of suffering and trial, we gather around the Pope Emeritus. We assure remembrance in prayer in our churches, in the knowledge, as he himself has reminded us, that ‘no matter how hard the trials, difficult the problems, heavy the suffering, we will never fall out of the hands of God, those hands that created us, sustain us and accompany us on the journey of existence, because they are guided by an infinite and faithful love,” wrote Zuppi in a statement released on December 28.
The Vatican released an update on Pope Benedict Thursday morning, according to Catholic News Agency, where they said the pope’s condition was “serious.” According to the statement released by Vatican Press Office Director Matteo Bruni, “the Pope Emeritus was able to rest well last night. He is absolutely lucid and alert today, although his condition remains serious, the situation as the moment is stable.”
The Diocese of Rome will be offering a special Mass for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI on December 30, at the Basilica of St. John Lateran. The pope gave an address before the midday Angelus at St. Peter’s Square in 2006 where he spoke about death and how Jesus changed the meaning of death:
“To die, in fact, is part of life and not only of its end, but, if we pay attention, of every instant. Despite all the distractions, the loss of a loved one makes us discover the ‘problem’, making us feel death as a radically hostile presence contrary to our natural vocation to life and happiness. Jesus revolutionized the meaning of death. He did so with his teaching, above all by facing death himself….ultimately, he (Jesus) was born to be able to die and in this way to free us from the slavery of death….those who commit themselves to live like him are freed from the fear of death, no longer showing the sarcastic smile of an enemy but offering the friendly face of a ‘sister’, as St. Francis wrote in the ‘Canticle of Creatures,’” said Benedict XVI.
Let us resolve to continue praying for the pope emeritus throughout this time.