News / Europe

History Made as Current, Former Popes Meet, Pray Together

Pope Francis (L) exchanges a gift with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI at the Castel Gandolfo summer residence, south of Rome, March 23, 2013.Pope Francis (L) exchanges a gift with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI at the Castel Gandolfo summer residence, south of Rome, March 23, 2013.
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Pope Francis (L) exchanges a gift with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI at the Castel Gandolfo summer residence, south of Rome, March 23, 2013.
Pope Francis (L) exchanges a gift with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI at the Castel Gandolfo summer residence, south of Rome, March 23, 2013.
VOA News
Newly-installed Pope Francis met his predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict on Saturday, marking the first time a current and former pope have met face-to-face in at least 600 years.

Pope Francis flew by helicopter to the papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo, where Benedict has been living since resigning late last month.

Footage released by the Vatican showed the two men embracing shortly after the helicopter landed.

At the residence, they held private talks, had lunch and prayed together. When they entered the chapel, Benedict directed Pope Francis to the kneeler reserved for popes in front of the altar, but Francis declined, telling Benedict, "We are brothers," and insisting they pray side-by-side.

Pope Francis was elected to replace Benedict last week after the 85-year-old pontiff stepped down from the papacy, citing his age and health. The selection of the Argentine-born Francis made history, as he is the first non-European to lead the Roman Catholic Church in more than 1,200 years and the first Latin American pope.

The German-born Benedict, meanwhile, has said he will live his final years "hidden from the world." He soon will move back to the Vatican into a convent where he is expected to spend the rest of his life.

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by: Basia Babs from: andover, CT
March 23, 2013 5:56 PM
Barbara Doppes
5:54 PM EDT
The Holy Father's remarks are advisory, not mandatory because a church has no power to oversee whether so many people abide these words or not. But there are laws implemented by governments telling you how to run your life. So don't blame religious figures for that, will you? You otherwise sound obscure and bewildered~

TWO GOOD PEACEFUL MEN~MAY THEY BOTH LIVE A LONG LIFE~
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