May 2, 2013

Benedict returns to Vatican to meet with Pope Francis

By Nicole Winfield / The Associated Press

VATICAN CITY — Benedict XVI has returned to the Vatican for the first time since he resigned Feb. 28 and met with successor Pope Francis.

click image to enlarge

Pope Francis, right, and Pope emeritus Benedict XVI meet in Castel Gandolfo in March. Benedict returned to the Vatican on Thursday.

2013 Associated Press File Photo/Osservatore Romano

The Vatican said Francis greeted Benedict on Thursday at his new retirement home, a converted monastery on the edge of the Vatican gardens, and the two then prayed together in the adjoining chapel.

Benedict's return to the Vatican signals an unprecedented era with a retired pontiff living alongside a reigning one.

It is the second meeting between the two since Francis was elected pope March 13.

Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI flew by helicopter from the papal residence in Castel Gandolfo, where he has lived since Feb. 28, when he became the first pope in 600 years to step down.

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