"A beautiful embrace" marks the
first meeting of "two Popes" at Castel GandolfoBenedict XVI at the heliport to greet his successor. They
pray together, "we are brothers." Crowds gather in the square in the hope that
the two together we appear together.Castel Gandolfo (AsiaNews):
meeting of a strictly private nature between Francis and Benedict XVI, began
with "a beautiful embrace," said Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of
the Holy See Press Office. Francis had left the Vatican shortly after 12
o'clock, by helicopter. After a flight of 20 minutes and a double salute over
Castel Gandolfo's main square, he arrived at the Pontifical Villas, where he was
greeted by Benedict XVI, wearing a white cassock, the bishop of Albano Msgr.
Marcello Semeraro and the Director of the Villas, Saverio Petrillo.
should be noted, with regard to the clothing, that the Pope emeritus wore a
simple white cassock, without a sash or mantella, or cape: these are the two
details which distinguish his vestments from clothing of Pope Francis who
instead wears both the sash and cape .
The Pope and the Pope emeritus
then went to the chapel in the Apostolic Palace to pray. Benedict XVI wanted
Francis to use the kneeler of honor, but the Pope wanted them to kneel down
together on the same pew to pray. "We are brothers," he said. Francis brought
the gift of a statue of Our Lady of humility.
There was then the private
face to face meeting, which lasted 40-45 minutes and lunch, along with the two
secretaries, Msgr. Gaenswein and Msgr. Xuereb.
Father Lombardi described
the meeting as "a moment of profound and elevated communion." The encounter, he
added, gave Benedict XVI the opportunity to "renew his act of reverence and
obedience to his successor" and for his successor to renew his "gratitude and
that of the whole Church and the for the ministry carried out by Benedict during
his pontificate." Father Lombardi said that if it was their first meeting in
person, the Pope "had already, on many occasions, turned his thoughts to the
Pope Emeritus", whom he had called twice on the phone, on the day of his
election and St. Joseph's Day, to wish him a happy 'name' day.
emeritus also plans to accompany Francis to the heliport for his return journey,
scheduled for early afternoon and said he did not believe that the two popes
will not appear together on the balcony of the palace overlooking the
The high expectation of the inhabitants of the village is likely
to be disappointed. Those gathered in the Lazio town had applauded the passage
of the helicopter, which made two turns above Freedom Square, in front of the
entrance of the Pontifical Villas. The crowds also from time to time chanted the
names Francis and Benedict in the hope that the two of them would appear
together on the balcony.
The scarcity of news confirms the private nature
of the meeting, which is also in line with what Benedict XVI had this to say on
February 14, meeting with priests of the diocese of Rome: "Even if I retire now,
I'm always close in prayer to all you, and you will be close to me, even if I
remain hidden away from the world. "
Today's meeting also had unleashed
the imagination of the media which speculated on whether Benedict XVI would
today handover the of Vatileaks "dossier" and other rumors along the same