Latest Updates: Pope Benedict Seems Stable, Concelebrates Mass in Bed

The rapid decline in Pope Benedict’s health has intensified speculations while Pope Francis used his general audience on Wednesday to ask for prayers for his predecessor.

Newsroom (30/12/2022 9:12 PM, Gaudium Press)  Amid growing speculation Benedict XVI concelebrated Mass from his bed, the Vatican has revealed in a communiqué. 

The director of the Holy See Press Office, Matteo Bruni, informed that Benedict, 95, was “able to rest well” on Thursday night. His condition continues to stabilize.

“He also participated in the celebration of Holy Mass in his room yesterday afternoon,” Mr. Bruni said. “At present his condition is stationary.”

The rapid decline in Pope Benedict’s health has intensified speculations while Pope Francis used his general audience on Wednesday to ask for prayers for his predecessor.

Today, December 30, a Mass for Pope Benedict was celebrated at the Basilica of St John Lateran, presided by the Vicar of the Diocese of Rome, Cardinal Angelo De Donatis.

The Diocese of Rome, at the same time, has encouraged “parish communities, chaplaincies, religious men and women, all the faithful of the diocese and all the men and women of good will who live in Rome” to congregate in prayer for Benedict XVI.

According to Vatican News, the faithful are to recall “with gratitude the road travelled together with our bishop emeritus” and to accompany him now “in this time of suffering and hardship, praying to the Lord that He may console him and sustain him in his witness of love for the Church until the end”.

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Some days before, Mr. Bruni announced a decline in Benedict’s state due to his “advancing age,” assuring that the ailments were “under control” while doctors continually monitored and cared for Pope Emeritus.

Meanwhile, the Catholic Herald informed on Wednesday evening that Benedict was not affected by “any particular grave illness.” Instead, he is “gradually wearing out and fading away due to his advanced age.”

Vatican sources also confirmed the National Catholic Register report that Benedict had a modification to his pacemaker. But described the procedure, along with reported kidney failure, as “typical of old age” rather than due to a specific illness or disease.

The same source also clarified that Benedict’s condition had significantly deteriorated on Tuesday evening, reaching the point of losing consciousness.

Benedict later regained awareness and was reported to be “alert.” On Wednesday evening, however, the situation worsened with those in attendance, considering he was entering his final hours. 

Nevertheless, his condition had stabilized by Thursday morning.

Such lapses of consciousness, the source noted, particularly in the elderly, are part of the “mystery” of the evening of life.

“We have probably reached the last phase of his earthly life, and we must prepare and pray for him and for the Church. But only God knows when this will happen: this evening, tomorrow night, in a few days or perhaps in ten,” the source told reporters. “I don’t think we can speak of months now, but we are in the Lord’s hands now more than ever.”

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