Two popes, living side by side


Associated Press

Posted on May 2, 2013 at 11:30 AM

Updated Thursday, May 2 at 12:33 PM

VATICAN CITY (AP) — For the first time, the Catholic Church has a retired pope living alongside the reigning pope.

The Vatican says Emeritus Pope Benedict is pleased to be back at what is now his new retirement home -- a converted monastery on the edge of the Vatican gardens.

He returned there today from the papal retreat south of Rome, where he'd been since his resignation at the end of February.

He was welcomed by Pope Francis. A photo released by the Vatican shows the two men, their hands clasped and both smiling, standing inside the doorway of Benedict's new home.

A statement says the new pope welcomed his predecessor with "brotherly cordiality." It says the two men went to an adjoining chapel to pray together.

The Vatican says Benedict will now "dedicate himself to the service of the church above all with prayer."

A Vatican spokesman has said Benedict, who is 86, isn't suffering from any specific ailment -- but that "he is old and his strength is slowly ebbing."

%@AP Links

194-c-14-(Nicole Winfield, AP correspondent)-"discuss Church issues"-AP correspondent Nicole Winfield reports there's no sign Pope Francis will be uncomfortable with Benedict as a neighbor. (2 May 2013)

<<CUT *194 (05/02/13)>> 00:14 "discuss Church issues"

193-c-13-(Nicole Winfield, AP correspondent)-"welcome him back"-AP correspondent Nicole Winfield reports former Pope Benedict is coming home to a new house and to live side-by-side with Pope Francis. (2 May 2013)

<<CUT *193 (05/02/13)>> 00:13 "welcome him back"

GRAPHICSBANK: Pope Francis greets Pope emeritus Benedict XVI (r-l), Vatican City, L'Osservatore Romano photo on texture, partial graphic (2 May 2013)

APPHOTO GB116: The helicopter carrying back Pope emeritus Benedict XVI from the pontifical summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, 35 km South-Est from Rome, lands at the Vatican helipad, Thursday, May 2, 2013. Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI comes home on Thursday to a new house and a new pope, as an unprecedented era begins of a retired pontiff living side-by-side with a reigning one inside the Vatican gardens. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia) (2 May 2013)

<<APPHOTO GB116 (05/02/13)>>