ROME and LONDON – A day after news broke that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s health had deteriorated within hours, a Vatican official updated Thursday that he is “totally lucid and sober.”
Matteo Bruni, director of the Holy See’s Press Office, told reporters: “Although his condition is serious, his condition is currently stable.”
The Vatican also renewed the call for the current Pope to pray for the former Pope.
Bruni said on Wednesday that “the situation is currently under control and constantly monitored by doctors”, adding that he “can confirm the deterioration of his condition due to his advanced age in the last few hours”.
The comments came after Pope Francis asked his morning audience for prayers for Benedict, 95.
“I ask all of you for a special prayer for Pope Benedict, who silently supports the Church,” the Pope said.
Bruni said on Wednesday that Francis visited his predecessor, who resigned in 2013, later in the day at the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery.
“We pray with him for Pope Amary,” Bruni said.
The Vatican was last released video footage In August, Benedict’s newest cardinals visited with Francis as part of a tradition that has continued since he became pope.
According to the Italian news agency ANSA, citing “specialized sources”, Benedict’s condition worsened a few days before Christmas. ANSA reported that Benedict began to suffer from “respiratory problems” a few days before the holiday.
Benedict spent Christmas at his Vatican residence at the former Mater Ecclesiae monastery, where Christmas Mass was celebrated in a small chapel in his home, ANSA reported.
ABC News’ Joe Simonetti contributed to this report.
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