AP

Vatican: Benedict in stable condition, participated in Mass

Dec 29, 2022, 4:23 PM | Updated: Dec 30, 2022, 10:30 am

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, third from left, meets with the winners of the 2022 Ratzinger Prize, Jo...

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, third from left, meets with the winners of the 2022 Ratzinger Prize, Joseph Halevi Horowitz Weiler, left, and father Michel Fedou, partially hidden at right, at the Mater Ecclesiae monastery inside the Vatican where Benedict XVI lives, in this photo taken Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022. Second from left, is the foundation's president Father Federico Lombardi, and fourth from left is Benedict XVI's long-time personal secretary Bishop Georg Gänswein. (Fondazione Vaticana J.Ratzinger via AP)

(Fondazione Vaticana J.Ratzinger via AP)

ROME (AP) — Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was in stable condition Friday after suffering a decline in his health and participated in a private Mass in his room, the Vatican said, as the faithful in Rome honored “this last stretch of his pilgrimage.”

The Vatican provided a new medical bulletin Friday afternoon saying Benedict had been able to rest well for a second night.

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

On Wednesday, Pope Francis revealed that his 95-year-old predecessor was “very ill” and he went to see him in his home in the Vatican Gardens. Francis called for prayers for Benedict, resulting in an outpouring of messages of solidarity from rank-and-file Catholics and cardinals alike.

In 2013, Benedict became the first pope in 600 years to resign, saying he no longer had the strength of body or mind to lead the then 1.2-billion-member Catholic Church. His resignation paved the way for Francis’ election.

Benedict, who for decades as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger served the Vatican as its doctrinal guardian, chose to live out his retirement in seclusion in a converted monastery on Vatican City grounds. The German-born churchman was being tended to by a team of doctors and his longtime papal family: his secretary, Monsignor Georg Gaenswein, and a few consecrated women who help run the household.

On Friday evening, the cardinal vicar of Rome, Cardinal Angelo De Donatis, celebrated a special Mass for Benedict in St. John in Lateran Basilica. The monumental basilica was Benedict’s cathedral in his capacity as bishop of Rome when serving as pontiff.

The cardinal hailed Benedict’s qualities, saying he “always demonstrated a great trust in Providence.”

“As priest, theologian, bishop, pope, he expressed, at the same time, the strength and the sweetness of the faith, the essentialness and the simplicity of he who knows that, when you dream with God, dreams become reality,'” De Donatis said in his homily.

Referring to Benedict’s nearly 10 years in retirement from the papacy, De Donatis said that the pope emeritus “even in old age, and in illness, continues to sustain humanity totally offering oneself.”

The pope emeritus was “in profound communion with Pope Francis,” the cardinal said.

Some critics of Francis or of his predecessor have sought to depict the relationship between the retired and reigning pontiffs as a kind of rivalry, but De Donatis’ words seemed aimed at dispelling such a perception.

The homily’s final words resounded almost like a funeral ode.

“When He wants, God will approach this brother of ours in the slumber of death and will say to him, ‘Joseph, get up, Joseph, rise.’

“And it will be Christ and his mother to take him with them and lead him into paradise, where the dream of a life will because the reality of eternity,” the cardinal concluded.

During the Mass, one of the faithful read aloud a prayer asking God to “support and console him with his presence in this last stretch of his pilgrimage.”

Benedict has indicated that when he dies, he would like to be buried in the crypt in the grotto underneath St. Peter’s Basilica once occupied by the tomb of St. John Paul II, which was moved upstairs into the main basilica in recent years.

At the end of Mass, De Donatis said the faithful were entrusting “our Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI to the maternal care” of Jesus’ mother, “because she has promised to be near to her children in the moment of trial.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

moore redmond washington...

Associated Press

U.S. Supreme Court rules against Redmond couple challenging foreign income tax

The court ruled in the case of Charles and Kathleen Moore, of Redmond, Washington after they previously challenged a $15,000 tax bill.

5 days ago

Image:The New York Giants' Willie Mays poses for a photo during baseball spring training in 1972. M...

Associated Press

Willie Mays, Giants’ electrifying ‘Say Hey Kid,’ dies at 93

Willie Mays, whose singular combination of talent, drive and exuberance made him one of baseball’s greatest players, has died. He was 93.

6 days ago

Image: This photo provided by the Washington Department of Ecology shows a derailed BNSF train on t...

Associated Press

Judge orders BNSF to pay Washington tribe nearly $400M for trespassing with oil trains

BNSF Railway must pay the sum to a Native American tribe in Washington after it ran 100-car trains with crude oil on the tribe's reservation.

8 days ago

Photo: In this photo provided by Tieanna Joseph Cade, an amusement park ride is shown stuck with 30...

Associated Press

Crews rescue 28 people trapped upside down high on Oregon amusement park ride

Emergency crews in Oregon rescued 28 people after they were stuck dangling upside down high on a ride at a century-old amusement park.

8 days ago

juneteenth shooting texas...

Associated Press

2 killed and 6 wounded in shooting during a Juneteenth celebration in a Texas park

A shooting in a Texas park left two people dead and six wounded, including two children, on Saturday, authorities said.

9 days ago

Photo: Israeli soldiers drive a tank near the Israeli-Gaza border, in southern Israel, Wednesday, J...

Jack Jeffery, The Associated Press

8 Israeli soldiers killed in southern Gaza in deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months

An explosion in Gaza killed eight Israeli soldiers, the military said Saturday, making it the deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months.

9 days ago

Vatican: Benedict in stable condition, participated in Mass