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Pope Francis meets Pope Benedict in historic visit

Pope Francis traveled Saturday to this hill town south of Rome to have lunch with his "brother" and predecessor Benedict XVI, a historic and potentially problematic melding of the papacies that has never before confronted the Catholic Church.

The two men dressed in white embraced warmly on the helipad in the gardens of Castel Gandolfo, where Benedict has been living since he retired Feb. 28 and became the first pope to resign in 600 years.

And in a series of gestures that ensued, Benedict made clear that he considered Francis to be pope while Francis made clear he considered his predecessor to be very much a revered brother and equal.

Traveling from the helipad to the palazzo, Francis sat on the right-hand side of the car, the traditional place of the pope, while Benedict sat on the left. When they entered the chapel inside the palazzo to pray, Benedict tried to direct Francis to the papal kneeler at the front of the chapel, but Francis refused.

"No, we are brothers, we pray together," Francis told Benedict, according to the Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi. The two used a different kneeler in the pews and prayed together, side-by-side.

Francis brought a gift to Benedict, an icon of the Madonna, and told him that it's known as the "Madonna of Humility."

"I thought of you," Francis told Benedict. "You gave us so many signs of humility and gentleness in your pontificate." Benedict replied: "Grazie, grazie."

Benedict wore the simple white cassock of the papacy, with a quilted white jacket over it to guard against the chill, but minus the sash and cape worn by Francis. Walking with a cane, he looked frail compared to the robust 76-year-old Argentine.

Outside the villa, the main piazza of Castel Gandolfo was packed with well-wishers bearing photos of both popesand chanting "Francesco! Francesco!" But the Vatican made clear they probably wouldn't see anything.

The Vatican downplayed the remarkable reunion in keeping with Benedict's desire to remain "hidden from the world" and not interfere with his successor's papacy. There was no live coverage by Vatican television, and only a short video and still photos were released after the fact.

The Vatican spokesman said the two spoke privately for 40-45 minutes, followed by lunch with the two papal secretaries, but no details were released.

All of which led to enormous speculation about what these two popes might have said to one another after making history together: Benedict's surprise resignation paved the way for the first pope from Latin America, the first Jesuit, and the first to call himself Francis after the 13th century friar who devoted himself to the poor, nature and working for peace.

That the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was second only to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in the 2005 conclave that elected Ratzinger pope has only added to the popular imagination about how these two popes of such different style, background and priorities might get along.

Perhaps over their primo, or pasta course during Saturday's lunch, they discussed the big issues facing the church: the rise of secularism in the world, the drop in priestly vocations in Europe, the competition that the Catholic Church faces in Latin America and Africa from evangelical Pentecostal movements.

During their secondo, or second course of meat or fish, they might have gone over more pressing issues about Francis' new job: Benedict left

by Anonymousreply 2503/26/2013

THANK you, OP; appreciate!!

by Anonymousreply 103/23/2013

I'm wiping away the tears from my eyes!

by Anonymousreply 203/23/2013

Which one is the top?

by Anonymousreply 303/23/2013

Was Sarah Palin there?

by Anonymousreply 403/23/2013

Oh good. I had been afraid there might be an Earth-shattering KaBoom when the Pope and the Anti-Pope met.

by Anonymousreply 503/23/2013

Did they exchange their God particles?

by Anonymousreply 603/23/2013

It was nice that our new Holy Father and our former Holy Father had a good meeting.

by Anonymousreply 703/23/2013

"So, Benny, who's the infallible one now, eh?"

by Anonymousreply 803/23/2013

If Francine wanted to establish a genuine authority, he would have had Bennie arrested.

by Anonymousreply 903/23/2013

What is the etiquette? Who kissed whose ring?

by Anonymousreply 1003/23/2013

Benedict no longer has a ring, sash, cape, nor red shoes.

by Anonymousreply 1103/23/2013

Two - Two. Two Popes in one!

by Anonymousreply 1203/23/2013

My guess is that Bennie the Rat eats meek South American prelates for lunch.

by Anonymousreply 1303/23/2013

Hmmm. So they both brought their "Papal Secretaries" to lunch with them. Isn't that special! Can we say "Cozy?"

by Anonymousreply 1403/23/2013

Eat shit, Joseph.

No, Joseph. I am not speaking metaphorically. But I am speaking ex cathedra.

Fork?

by Anonymousreply 1503/23/2013

Pope Francis is going to be a great Pope but, I miss Pope Benedict.

by Anonymousreply 1603/25/2013

"Give me back my red Prada slippers!I'm the only one who knows how to use them. They're of no use to you! Give them back!"

by Anonymousreply 1703/25/2013

Bergo-oh-oglio. I and Velma ain't dumb!

by Anonymousreply 1803/25/2013

Pope Francis keeps bumping his threads.

by Anonymousreply 1903/26/2013

The two popes wore the same outfit and the fur flew.

by Anonymousreply 2003/26/2013

They compared Bel Ami collections, trading and swapping DVDs and then spent some time on Craigslist.

by Anonymousreply 2103/26/2013

They will take off their shirts and wrestle for the title.

by Anonymousreply 2203/26/2013

Shopping for shoes no doubt.

by Anonymousreply 2303/26/2013

Pedos of a feather flock together. The Vatican is pedo central.

by Anonymousreply 2403/26/2013

WW for r17! *L*

by Anonymousreply 2503/26/2013
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