Backup Pope Benedict ‘Very Sick,’ Needs Prayers, Says Pope Francis

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At a glance

  • Former pope Benedict, 95, who in 2013 became the first pontiff in 600 years to step down, is “very sick,” his successor Pope Francis said on Wednesday.
  • “I would like to ask all of you for a special prayer for Pope Emeritus Benedict, who, in silence, is sustaining the Church,” Francis said in a surprise announcement in Italian at the end of his weekly general audience.

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