Pope Benedict ‘lucid and alert,’ but in serious condition

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI remains “lucid and alert” one day after Pope Francis indicated his predecessor was “very sick.”

“The Pope Emeritus was able to rest well last night. He is absolutely lucid and alert. Today, although his condition remains serious, the situation remains stable at the moment,” said Holy See spokesman Matteo Bruni, according to the Vatican’s news agency.

Pope Francis on Wednesday requested his Catholic followers provide a “special prayer” for his 95-year-old predecessor, and the Vatican indicated the pope emeritus was being constantly monitored by doctors.

“Pope Francis renews his invitation to pray for [Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI] and accompany him in these difficult hours,” Bruni said, according to Vatican News.

Pope Benedict assumed the pontificate in 2005 following the death of Pope John Paul II.

In 2013, Pope Benedict became the first person to resign as head of the church in roughly 600 years, paving the way for Pope Francis to succeed him.

Pope Francis in August visited his predecessor, who still lives on Vatican grounds, with a group of new cardinals.

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