By FRANCES D'EMILIO Associated Press

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican says Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI's health has worsened over the past hours and doctors are constantly monitoring his condition.

Pope Francis appealed Wednesday to the faithful to pray for his “very ill” predecessor “until the end.”

A Vatican spokesperson said Francis went to visit the 95-year-old Benedict in the monastery on Vatican grounds where he has lived since retiring in February 2013.

The spokesperson said Benedict's situation “at the moment remains under control."

Benedict was the first pontiff to resign in 600 years.

Earlier, Francis departed from prepared remarks to ask the faithful to pray for the retired pontiff.

Benedict has become increasingly frail in recent years as he dedicated his post-papacy life to prayer and meditation.

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