Former Pope Benedict XVI 'stable' and able to 'rest well' overnight, Vatican says

Former Pope Benedict XVI is "stable" and was able to "rest well" last night, the Vatican has said.

The update comes amid concern for the health of Pope Francis' predecessor, who the pontiff said was "very sick" as he asked people to pray so God would comfort him "to the very end".

The former head of the Catholic Church, who became the first to retire in 600 years, was able to participate in Mass in his room, the Vatican says.

A Vatican spokesperson said: "Last night the Pope Emeritus was able to rest well. He also participated in the celebration of Holy Mass in his room yesterday afternoon.

"At present his condition is stable".

Upon his retirement he took on the title of Pope Emeritus and chose to live out his retirement in seclusion in a converted monastery in the Vatican.

Earlier this week the Vatican said the 95-year-old's condition had suddenly "worsened due to age".