Pope Francis appealed to the public to pray for his for “very ill” predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

In his weekly public audience on December 28, Pope Francis asked for prayers for Benedict XVI highlighting his contributions of the pope emeritus to the catholic church.

“I ask to all of you a special prayer for the pope emeritus Benedict, who, in silence, is sustaining the Church,” he said.

“Remember him — he is very ill — asking the Lord to console him and to sustain him in this testimony of love for the Church until the end,” the pope added.

Joseph Ratzinger, known through his papal name Benedict XVI, reigned as the supreme pontiff of the catholic church from his election upon Pope John Paul II’s death in 2005 until his resignation in 2013.

Benedict XVI lives in a former monastery, Casa Sta. Martha,  in the gardens of Vatican City.

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