Pope Francis said that retired Pope Benedict was ‘very ill’.

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Saying that Pope Benedict XVI is “very ill,” Pope Francis asked people to offer special prayers for him.

“I want to ask all of you for a special prayer for Pope Benedict emeritus,” Pope Francis said at the end of his weekly mass on December 28.

The 95-year-old retired pope “supports the church without a word,” Pope Francis said. “Remember him. He was very ill.

“Ask the Lord to comfort him and support him in his show of love for the Church until the end,” said Pope Francis.

Matteo Bruni, director of the Vatican press office, told reporters that Pope Francis went to Pope Benedict’s house after those who visited him.

“I can confirm in the last few hours that the increase (of Pope Benedict’s health) has increased due to the growing age,” said Bruni. “The situation is still ongoing, the doctors will continue to monitor it.”

On Feb. 11, 2013, Pope Benedict announced that he will retire on Feb. 28. He spent the first months of his retirement at the pope’s summer residence in Castel Gandolfo before moving to the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican Gardens where he resided.

The retired pope has been softer, but now on Dec. 1. He met in August at the monastery with Pope Francis and the new cardinals that the pope has created.