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Gerard O’ConnellDecember 30, 2022
Pope Francis visits with Pope Benedict XVI at the retired pope's residence after a consistory at the Vatican in this Nov. 28, 2020, file photo. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

Pope emeritus Benedict XVI “was able to rest well last night” and “at the present moment his condition is unchanged” from yesterday, according to a statement from Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni today, Dec. 30. Pope Francis had asked for prayers for the 95-year-old former pope on Wednesday, when the Vatican reported Benedict was “very ill.”

In today’s statement, Mr. Bruni reported that Benedict XVI “participated in the celebration of Holy Mass in his room.” Yesterday, he said, Benedict had been “able to rest well” the previous night and “is absolutely lucid and alert although his condition remains serious.” Mr. Bruni added that “his situation is stable at the moment.”

Yesterday, Benedict had been “able to rest well” the previous night and “is absolutely lucid and alert although his condition remains serious.”

ANSA, the Italian state news agency, reported today that a source close to the Mater Ecclesiae monastery where Benedict XVI is living said that “the situation has not changed with respect to yesterday.” It said that his doctors had “continuously monitored him throughout the night and would continue doing so in the coming hours.”

America has learned from an informed Vatican source that doctors had succeeded in ameliorating a blockage of the kidneys to some extent yesterday, and this has eased Benedict’s medical situation.

Some Italian media have reported that Benedict lost consciousness for a while on Tuesday night, but there is no official confirmation of this. They said Pope Francis was informed of this on Wednesday morning before the public audience, and so asked people to pray for his predecessor who, he said, “is very ill.”

Benedict XVI “was able to rest well last night” and “at the present moment his condition is unchanged” from yesterday.

Sources in Rome reported that Benedict XVI began to experience respiratory problems even before he celebrated Christmas Mass in the monastery where he lives. His respiratory problems appear to have increased after that, so much so that his private secretary, Mgr. Georg Gänswein, had to return from vacation in Germany. He, along with four consecrated women of the Memores Domini community of the Communion and Liberation movement, cares for the ailing pope.

There is an air of suspense in Rome and widespread concern for the emeritus pope. Journalists who cover the Vatican and were on vacation have returned quickly to the city, and other media figures are arriving in Rome.

Cardinal Angelo De Donatis will celebrate a Mass for Benedict this evening in the Lateran Basilica, to join in prayer for him as requested by Pope Francis so that God may "console him, and sustain him in this witness of love for the Church, until the end.” The Mass will be livestreamed by Vatican Media.

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