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Pope Francis has historic meeting with Pope Emeritus

By on Saturday, 23 March 2013

Pope Francis greets the Pope Emeritus at Castel Gandolfo (CNS)

Pope Francis greets the Pope Emeritus at Castel Gandolfo (CNS)

Pope Francis met his predecessor today in a historic encounter at Castel Gandolfo.

During the three-hour meeting the pair prayed together in the chapel of the papal summer residence, ate lunch together and spoke privately for about 45 minutes.

Pope Francis presented the Pope Emeritus an icon of Our Lady of Humility during the visit.

Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi SJ narrated the meeting on Vatican Radio.

He said: “The helicopter landed in Castel Gandolfo heliport, at about 12:15pm and the car with the retired Pope approached the helicopter landing site.

“The Holy Father alighted: he was accompanied by the Substitute [Secretary of State] Mgr Becciu, by Mgr Sapienza and Mgr Alfred Xuereb. As the Pope alighted, the Pope Emeritus approached him and there was a moving embrace between the two.

“Then, there followed brief greetings with those other present- the Bishop of Albano and the director of the Pontifical Villas, Mr Petrillo – they all got in the car: Pope Francis on the right, then place reserved to the Pope, and the Pope Emeritus on the left. Mgr Georg Gänswein, who is prefect of the Papal Household, travelled in the same car. And so, the car brought the two protagonists of this historic meeting to the elevators and they went up to the apartments and immediately went to the chapel for a moment of prayer.

“In the chapel, the Pope Emeritus offered the place of honour to Pope Francis, but he said: ‘We are brothers’, and wanted them to kneel together in the same place.

“After a short moment of prayer, they then went to the private library where, at about 12:30, the private meeting began. This is the library where the Pope normally receives important guests in Castel Gandolfo.

“Pope Francis brought a beautiful icon as a gift for the Pope Emeritus, their discussions ended at 13.15, lasting about 45 minutes. It should be noted, with regard to the clothing, which actually – as we mentioned earlier – the Pope emeritus wears a simple cassock white, without a sash and without a mantella: these are the two details which distinguish his clothing from that of Pope Francis who wears a mantella and sash.”

The Pope and his predecessor ate lunch with their secretaries, Mgr Gänswein and Mgr Xuereb.

The Pope Emeritus later accompanied Pope Francis to the heliport before the Pope returned to the Vatican.

Fr Lombardi added: “Let us remember that this is not their first meeting: it is their first face-to-face meeting, but Pope Francis had many times already addressed his thoughts to the Pope Emeritus, during his first appearance on the central Loggia, and then two personal calls: the night of his election and St Joseph’s Day.

“Thus, the dialogue had already started, even though the the personal, physical meeting had not yet taken place. Let us also remember that the retired Pope had already expressed his unconditional reverence and obedience to his successor at his farewell meeting with the Cardinals, February 28, and certainly in this meeting – which was a moment of profound and elevated communion – will have had the opportunity to renew this act of reverence and obedience to his successor, and certainly Pope Francis renewed his gratitude and that of the whole Church for Pope Benedict’s ministry during his pontificate.”

  • philip

    at last the to have met now thay can put the would to right no it is very nice to see the to can get on may god bless them

  • Siobhan Mckinney

    Hope Pope Emeritus Benedict can have rest now.
    Looked very frail in the video of this historic meeting.

  • odimgbe ifeanyi

    am proud to be a catholic for we have a standard that can never be change by circumstances ,now the world could be jealous of my faith the catholic faith.God bless the holy fathers

  • James H

    It was a little alarming, to see how frail Benedict looked in the footage I saw. Maybe he is indeed on his ‘final pilgrimage’.

  • Pope Zicola

    I guess that both Pope Francis and Emeritus Pope Benedict would give anything to meet up regularly to have a casual chat about the world over a refreshing hot drink and chocolate cake… as in, what is talked about at Castel Gandolfo stays in Castel Gandolfo… or the name of the Emeritus’ new residence a stone’s throw away… in the peace and quiet.
    Dream on…

  • Seeing Is Believing

    Yes, me too, I am proud to be a Catholic, joining 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide and to learn from our Holy Fathers – they are so humble and they truly practise what Our Lord teaches about a SERVANT, in their positions as leaders of the entire universal Catholic Church.
    May the Lord continue to shower His abundant graces and blessings daily and always onto Pope Emeritus His Holiness Benedict XVI and Pope Francis.
    Deo Gratias and Pax et Bonum

  • jferioli3

    he can rest? are you kidding? pope Francis said, “We feel that Benedict XVI lit a flame in the depth of our hearts, a
    flame that continues to burn because it will be fanned by his prayers
    that will continue to sustain the Church on its spiritual and missionary
    journey.” Benedict is praying to sustain the Church – it’s so bad we
    need 2 popes to keep us afloat. Open your eyes! There is so much more
    going on beneath the surface. May God open your eyes to the truth spiritually, economically, and globally.

  • James M

    If JP2 had been around there would have been enough of them for a group hug :)

  • James M

    “it’s so bad we need 2 popes to keep us afloat”

    ## There can be only one Pope at a time. BXVI’s authority as Pope ended when he resigned. He is no more a Pope now than – to use a slightly misleading analogy – an actor playing Hamlet is Hamlet outside the play. Popes never cease to be priests – they couldn’t if they wanted to; but to be Pope is an office that comes to an end, not an identity that cannot end. Result: Pope Francis, and only Pope Francis, is the present and only legitimate incumbent of the See of Peter. He, & not his predecessor. There can be two Popes only if there can be two Gods, two Christs, two Churches, and suchlike fooleries. The exercise of the Papal office can no more be divided than the Trinity – “there are two men who are both legitimate Popes at one time” is a nonsense sentence. If the Papacy could legitimately be exercised by more than one Pope, it could be exercised legitimately by 10, 1000, or a million. Either one Pope – or no Pope: those are the only alternatives: not 2, or more. If BXVI were still Pope – he would not be emeritus.

    Whether it is ever right canonically or theologically or doctrinally for a Pope to resign, is another matter. But, right or wrong, Popes have in fact done so.

  • Catholic doctor

    Why is Pope Emeritus suddenly looking so weak and frail and only shuffling along. Also he has big red circles suddenly appear around both his eyes. Did he fall in the bath again or has someone been trying to poison him?

  • Con

    I’m happy for you but jealous. Isn’t the word. More pity