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Pope Benedict XVI gravely ill Pope Francis asks for prayers for successor of John Paul II

Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, 95, who in 2013 became the first pontiff in 600 years to step down, is "very ill," his successor, Francis, said Wednesday, asking the Church to pray for him. The Vatican later said in a statement that Benedict suffered a sudden "worsening" of his health in recent hours. It also indicated that his condition is "under control" and that he is receiving constant medical attention. "I would like to ask everyone for a special prayer for Pope Emeritus Benedict, who, in silence, sustains the Church," Francis said in his surprise announcement. Let us remember him. He is very ill, asking the Lord to comfort him and sustain him in this testimony of love for the Church, until the end," said the Argentinean-born Pope, speaking in Italian. The Vatican specified that the German theologian is under medical surveillance and that he received a visit from his successor, Pope Francis.

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