Benedict XVI returns to the Vatican

Retired Pope Benedict XVI greets Pope Francis at the Vatican May 2

CNS PHOTO | L'OSSERVATORE ROMANO, REUTERS

Retired Pope Benedict XVI greets Pope Francis at the Vatican May 2

May 13, 2013
CINDY WOODEN
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

VATICAN CITY – For the first time in history, the Vatican is home to a pope and a retired pope.

Pope Francis welcomed his predecessor, retired Pope Benedict XVI, to the Vatican May 2 outside the convent remodeled for the 86-year-old retired pontiff and five aides.

Pope Francis and Pope Benedict entered the convent's chapel together "for a brief moment of prayer," said Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman.

Pope Benedict had been staying at the papal summer villa in Castel Gandolfo since retiring Feb. 28.

In response to suggestions that Pope Benedict seemed to be much frailer than he was two months ago, Lombardi told reporters, "He's an elderly man, weakened by age, but he is not suffering from any illness."

Pope Francis continues to live in the Domus Sanctae Marthae, the Vatican guesthouse just south of St. Peter's Basilica where the cardinals stayed during the conclave; the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery where Pope Benedict is living is just to the north of the basilica.

Arriving in Castel Gandolfo a couple of hours before his retirement became official, Pope Benedict reaffirmed his plans to spend his retirement in a "hidden life" of prayer and study.

The retired pope will live in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery with Archbishop Georg Ganswein, his secretary, who also serves Pope Francis as prefect of the papal household; and with four consecrated laywomen.