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Benedict XVI, celebrating anniversary of ordination, thanks Pope Francis for kindness

June 28, 2016

In his first public statement since his resignation, Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI thanked Pope Francis for his kindness, saying that it has been "a real inspiration for me."

The former Pontiff celebrated the 65th anniversary of his priestly ordination at a ceremony held in the Clementine Hall of the apostolic palace. Pope Francis congratulated his predecessor, saying that his decision to retire to a life of quiet prayer in the Vatican gardens was a "Franciscan" step; he pointed to the example of St. Francis of Assisi, praying in the Porziuncola.

Accepting applause from Pope Francis and dozens of cardinals who had assembled for the reception, the retired Pontiff spoke directly to his successor, saying: "More than in the Vatican Gardens, with their beauty, your goodness is the place where I dwell: I feel protected.”

The 89-year-old Benedict-- who appeared frail but fully alert-- spoke extemporaneously about giving thanks for the grace of priestly ordination, and said that this thanksgiving leads toward the Eucharistic feast of thanksgiving, "to that new dimension that Christ has given it." He continued:

He has transformed into thanksgiving, and so into blessing, the Cross, suffering, all the evil of the world. And thus He has fundamentally transubstantiated life and the world, and has given us, and gives us today the Bread of true life, which overcomes the world thanks to the strength of his love.

 
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