Pope Francis receives Benedict on Vatican return

(ANSA) – Vatican City, May 2 – Pope Francis personally received retired pope Benedict XVI and prayed with him on Thursday upon his return to the Vatican where he will reside in a converted monastery. Benedict arrived via the white papal helicopter, ending his two-month stay at the pontifical summer home at Castel Gandolfo outside Rome since abdicating at the end of February. At the time, Benedict shocked the world by becoming the first living pope in nearly 600 years to give up the throne of St Peter. Francis, who was elected on March 13 in a short conclave, greeted Benedict Thursday in front of his predecessor’s new home, the Mater Ecclesiae monastery, just a short walk from his own residence, and escorted Benedict inside the monastery “for a brief moment of prayer,” the Vatican said. It is the first time in history that two popes – one serving, the other not – have lived simultaneously behind the Vatican walls.

Since Francis was elected, the two met for the first time on March 23, praying together on the same papal kneeler inside a chapel at Castel Ganodolfo.
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