1: pope francis asked pilgrims at the vatican to pray for former pope benedict xvi, who is very ill. benedict became the first leader of the catholic church to stand down in 600 years in 2013, citing advanced age. pope francis was addressing a general audience in the vatican’s paul vi hall when he spoke about benedict’s declining health and then went to visit him at the mater ecclesiae monastery.
2: benedict xvi was 85 when he stepped down in february 2013. his papacy was marked by a scandal involving child sexual abuse by priests and he had presided over his predecessor john paul’s funeral mass. almost 400 priests had been defrocked by benedict in 2011 and 2012. earlier this year the former pope accepted that errors had been made in handling sexual abuse cases while he was archbishop of munich from 1977 to 1982.
3: speaking of benedict as a “saint” and a man of high spiritual life, pope francis said the former pope was lucid and had a good sense of humour. he asked forgiveness for any “grievous fault” and denied wrongdoing. pope francis asked pilgrims to pray for benedict, who stepped down citing advanced age and whose papacy was marked by a scandal involving child sexual abuse by priests.