Benedict XVI’s Health Deteriorates

The Vatican said that after the audience, Francis visited Benedict at his Mater Ecclesiae Monastery residence in the Vatican.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI (photo: Vatican Media )

VATICAN CITY —Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is suffering from aggravated kidney failure and had a recent modification to his pacemaker, an informed Vatican source has told the Register. 

The source said Benedict XVI has been experiencing “kidney failure which has worsened in the last few hours.” The source added that the 95-year-old Pope Emeritus had a modification to his “pacemaker about a month and a half ago to regularize his heartbeats” but stressed that it was unrelated to his kidney failure. 

The Vatican has yet to confirm his exact condition but confirmed on Wednesday that Benedict had experienced a sudden decline in his health, is currently stable and under medical care.

Holy See Press Office director Matteo Bruni issued a statement to reporters at 11.30 this morning saying that he was able to “confirm that in the last few hours there has been an aggravation due to advancing age. The situation at the moment remains under control, constantly monitored by doctors.”

The statement followed Pope Francis’ disclosure of his condition at this morning’s general audience: “I would like to ask you all for a special prayer for Pope Emeritus Benedict, who is supporting the Church in silence,” Francis said. “Remember him - he is very ill - asking the Lord to console him and to sustain him in this witness of love for the Church, until the end.”

The Vatican said that after the audience, Francis visited Benedict at his Mater Ecclesiae Monastery residence in the Vatican. 

The Register has contacted Benedict’s personal secretary, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, for comment but he has not yet responded. 

In recent years, Benedict XVI has become noticeably very frail, immobile, and unable to speak clearly, but Archbishop Gänswein and various visitors have testified to his mental alertness and relatively good health.

Earlier this month, Pope Francis praised the Pope Emeritus saying that “all of us sense his spiritual presence, his accompaniment in prayer for the whole Church and his constant contemplative gaze.” 

Pope Francis was presenting the Ratzinger Prize to French Jesuit theologian Michel Fédou and Jewish law professor Joseph Weiler. Benedict was not present at the ceremony but received the prize winners at his residence. 

 This story has been amended to say Benedict XVI recently had a modification to his pacemaker which was originally fitted many years ago.

This is a developing story that will be updated as more becomes known.