Photo of the German Pope Emeritus in Paderborn Cathedral
Photo: Lino Mirgeler / dpa
People around the world are praying for the German Pope Benedict XVI.
It was announced on Wednesday that the 95-year-old's health had deteriorated sharply.
The incumbent Pope Francis had called on the faithful to pray because Benedict was "very ill".
The call was followed by high clergymen and parishes on several continents.
The US Bishops' Conference, for example, published a prayer for Benedict on Instagram;
the chairman of the French bishops' conference also commented on social media.
According to the Holy See, Benedict's age-related condition has recently deteriorated;
the Ansa news agency reported breathing problems.
The Vatican said the situation was “under control” and that doctors were constantly monitoring Benedict.
According to reports, he did not want to be taken to a hospital.
In Germany, Cologne's Archbishop Rainer Maria Woelki — whom Benedict made cardinal in 2012 — joined the call to prayer, as did other clergy.
Among them were Georg Bätzing, the chairman of the German Bishops' Conference and Bishop of Limburg, the Archbishop of Munich and Cardinal Reinhard Marx, and Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer from Regensburg.
Joseph Ratzinger, as Benedikt's real name is, taught at the university in Regensburg.
His brother Georg died there in July 2020. Shortly before his brother's death, Benedikt was last in Germany;
after that he retired permanently to the monastery Mater Ecclesiae in the Vatican Gardens.
In many parts of the world, people and above all the spiritual superiors commemorated the former pope: from the archbishop of São Paulo to the cardinals of Washington and Boston to the archdiocese in Rome, who had presided over Benedict during his time as pope.
Benedict was Pope from 2005 to 2013 before he decided to retire from the pontifical office.
The German had previously made a name for himself as a theologian and was prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for more than two decades and was thus the supreme guardian of the Catholic faith.
Critics accuse him of not having opened up the church sufficiently because of his conservative attitude.
In addition, the revelations about abuse scandals - for example during the time as archbishop in Munich and Freising - cast a shadow over his vita.