Saturday, March 23, 2013

Bergoglio Visits Ex Pope Benedict XVI

Vatican Today
Speaking to journalists after the encounter, Holy See Press Office director, Fr. Federico Lombardi, relayed the details of the meeting, the first in person between Pope Francis and Benedict XVI.

He said Benedict XVI was waiting to greet Pope Francis as he alighted from the helicopter. That the Pope Emeritus dressed in a simple white cassock and jacket without the papal sash and cape thus distinguishing him from Pope Francis. Fr. Lombardi described the beautiful embrace that the men shared before making their way to the Apostolic Palace. On their arrival they immediately made their way to the Chapel for a moment of prayer.

There, Benedict XVI invited Pope Francis to take the pew reserved to the Holy Father. But Pope Francis responded “we are brothers” and insisted that the two kneel together in prayer at the same pew. The Holy Father also brought a gift for his predecessor, an icon of Our Lady of Humility, as a gift for Benedict XVI's great humility.

The two men then spent an estimated 45 minutes in private conversation in the Library before emerging to lunch with two secretaries.

 The intensely reserved nature of the encounter confirms what Benedict XVI had confided to the priests of Rome in his last meeting with them as Pope on February 14th when he said: “Although I am retiring now, I will always be close in prayer, and you will be close to me, even if I remain hidden away from the world".

 Further underling the deep communion between these two men, Fr. Lombardi reminded journalists that since his election to the Papacy Francis has twice telephoned the Pope Emeritus and warmly referred to him in all of his public speeches.

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