Saturday, March 23, 2013

Pope Francis visits Benedict XVI at Castel Gandolfo

(BBC) Newly elected Pope Francis has met his predecessor for lunch, the first time such a meeting has been possible for more than 600 years.

Pope Francis was flown by helicopter to Castel Gandolfo for the private lunch with Pope Emeritus Benedict.

Benedict has lived at the lakeside castle south of Rome since last month, when he became the first pope in six centuries to resign, citing ill health.

Francis presented Benedict with an icon of the Virgin Mary during their meeting

Cardinal Jorge Maria Bergoglio was elected to succeed him on 13 March.

No known precedent

There was no official communique on the results of the Pope's brief lunchtime visit to Castel Gandolfo, says the BBC's David Willey in Rome.

The two shared a kneeler as they prayed together in the villa's chapel, with Francis rejecting the use of the papal kneeler to share with his 'brother'

On the agenda, some delicate handover details, including a top secret document prepared by the former pope on last year's scandal involving leaked documents, our correspondent adds...

The two men both wore the white robes of the papacy, but Benedict chose a cassock and quilted jacket, leaving the cape and sash to Francis

The Vatican press office issued photographs of the pair praying together and exchanging gifts before they were left to speak privately

After their private chat, Francis and Benedict were joined for lunch by the two papal secretaries

An Argentine flag waved outside the papal summer residence today as crowds awaited the arrival of Pope Francis to meet Benedict, pope emeritus

Francis visited Benedict at Castel Gandolfo today, where the former pope blessed crowds from the balcony as he appeared in public view for the last time on the evening of February 28


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