Vatican: Benedict XVI lucid, stable, but condition 'serious'

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican said Thursday that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was lucid, conscious and stable, but that his condition remains serious a day after officials revealed that the 95-year-old's health had deteriorated recently.

A statement from Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said Pope Francis asks for continued prayers “to accompany him in these difficult hours.”

On Wednesday Francis revealed that Benedict was “very ill” and went to see him at his home in the Vatican Gardens. The Vatican later said Benedict's health had deteriorated in the recent hours.

The diocese of Rome has scheduled a special Mass in honor of Benedict on Friday at St. John Lateran, Benedict's former basilica in his capacity as the bishop of Rome.

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