Benedict XVI returns to Vatican, welcomed by Pope Francis
May 02, 2013
Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI returned to the Vatican on May 2, to take up residence in the Mater Ecclesiae monastery building.
The former Pope, who has been staying at Castel Gandolfo since his resignation took effect on February 28, returned to the Vatican by helicopter. He was met at heliport in the Vatican Gardens by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Secretary of State; Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the dean of the College of Cardinals; and Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, the president of the Vatican city-state governorate. Pope Francis then greeted his successor at the door of the Mater Ecclesiae building.
Benedict XVI will be living in a building that has housed several communities of cloistered religious. It has been renovated to accommodate the former Pontiff. His new quarters include a library—with all his books, reportedly arranged exactly as they were in his personal library before his election to the papacy—and a piano. The residence includes a guest room that will be available for visits by Benedict’s older brother, Msgr. Georg Ratzinger.
The Vatican did not provide live coverage of Benedict’s return to Rome, in deference to the former Pontiff’s desire to avoid public attention. Journalists covering the Vatican remain anxious to receive some news about the physical condition of the retired Pope, who appeared very frail when he met with Pope Francis at Castel Gandolfo on March 23.
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