Pope Francis asks for prayers for 'very ill' Pope Benedict

Pope Benedict XVI is said to be 'very ill' credit:Bang Showbiz
Pope Benedict XVI is said to be 'very ill' credit:Bang Showbiz

Pope Francis has asked for prayers for Pope Benedict XVI because he is "very ill".

The pontiff made the revelation about his predecessor's health during his general audience at the Vatican on Wednesday morning (28.12.22) - explaining the 95-year-old former Pope is not well.

At the end of his address, Pope Francis said: "I would like to ask all of you to pray a special prayer for Pope Emeritus Benedict ... To remember him, because he is very ill, asking the Lord to console and support him."

He did not give any more details about the state of Pope Benedict's health.

The former pontiff was the head of the Catholic Church, bishop of Rome and sovereign of the Vatican City State from April 2005 until February 2013 when he shocked the world by announcing he would be stepping down due to health reasons - making him the first Pope in almost 600 years to resign from the role.

Pope Benedict issued an open letter explaining his decision, which read: "I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry ... Both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognise my incapacity to adequately fulfil the ministry entrusted to me."

He added that he intended to spend the rest of his life "dedicated to prayer".

Pope Francis took over the role just weeks later after being elected on March 13 2013.