Quantcast
Latest Stories

Two men in white at Vatican as former pope returns


Ex-pope Benedict XVI. AP FILE PHOTO

VATICAN CITY — Two months after his historic resignation, Benedict XVI was set to return to the Vatican on Thursday, where he will live in a former monastery in an unprecedented arrangement that will see a pope and a former pope both housed in the tiny state.

It is expected to be a low-key return for the 86-year-old |Benedict, now pope emeritus, who looked extremely frail at his last public appearance in March and said upon his resignation that he would live “hidden from the world.”

Benedict will leave by helicopter from Castel Gandolfo outside Rome, the papal lakeside residence where he has been staying since he stepped down at the end of February, and is expected to touch down in the Vatican at around 1430 GMT.

His successor Pope Francis will be there to welcome him back and may retire to pray with him.

The current pontiff has made repeated gestures of friendship towards Benedict, visiting him in Castel Gandolfo, calling him on his birthday and holding mass for him.

The German-born former pope, who resigned because of old age, will move into the Mater Ecclesiae monastery building within the Vatican grounds — an oasis of calm with its own vegetable garden and blooming flowerbeds — which has been renovated for him.

There Benedict plans to carry out a life of quiet contemplation and academic research.

The unique decision to accommodate both a pope and his predecessor within the tiny city state provoked surprise in some quarters, with critics worried that Benedict’s presence may make it more difficult for Francis to make St. Peter’s chair his own.

The image and the unprecedented situation has also raised concern among some Vatican officials, mindful of the precedent of two or even three popes at the same time and the divisions that caused.

Benedict’s secretary Georg Gaenswein is confusingly also the head of Francis’ papal household.

But during his two-month stay at Castel Gandolfo, the papal summer residence for centuries, Benedict was careful not to be seen to interfere in any way in the papal election or the beginning of Francis’ reign — and is expected to maintain his low profile.

The visit in March between Francis and Benedict sparked concerns over the latter’s health, after television footage showed the ex-pontiff visibly aged and struggling to keep up with his successor, even with the aid of a walking stick.

“He is old, weakened by age, but he is not ill,” Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said.

In the Mater Ecclesiae monastery, Benedict will live with four housekeepers from a lay religious order that has looked after him until now, as well as with Gaenswein. A room will also be reserved for Georg Ratzinger, the ex-pope’s brother, for when he should visit.

Spread over three floors, the modern complex has 12 monastic cells upstairs, while the ground floor houses a kitchen, living room, library and chapel.

The cells are sparsely furnished: the only decorations to be seen are wooden crosses and a few paintings depicting scenes from religious life, according to the Vatican.

A stone’s throw from St. Peter’s Basilica, the monastery has until now housed Benedictine nuns, the Poor Clares — an order founded by saints Clare of Assisi and Francis of Assisi — and sisters from the order of the Visitation of Holy Mary.


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Catholic Church , Pope Benedict XVI , Pope Francis , Religion , Vatican




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  2. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  3. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  4. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  5. Massive infra spending set
  6. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  7. South Korea president shouted down by distraught parents
  8. Passengers denied chance to escape sinking South Korea ferry
  9. Lacson’s wife loses diamond earring to thieves but recovers jewelry quickly with police arrest
  10. OFW brings MERS virus to Philippines
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  4. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  5. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  6. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  7. ‘Wife of Jesus’ theory papyrus not fake – Harvard study
  8. Gay college instructor arrested for oral sex with student
  9. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  10. Palace: We can’t blame increase in population on Vitangcol
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Pork payoffs to newscasters Erwin Tulfo, Del Prado, others bared
  4. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  5. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  6. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  7. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  8. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  9. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  10. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
Advertisement

News

  • Captain not at helm of capsized Korean ferry–probers
  • 4.9 quake jolts Batanes on Maundy Thursday
  • Presidents, celebrities mourn writer Garcia Marquez
  • MH370 search to be most costly ever at $100 million — analysts
  • Iraqi guilty of beating wife to death in US
  • Sports

  • Heat seek Three-peat but Spurs, Pacers top seeds
  • Can Spurs get back at Heat? Can they survive West?
  • Hopkins, 49, seeks win for the ageless
  • LeBron still No. 1 with NBA’s most popular jersey
  • Pacquiao back in PH, heads home to wife, kids
  • Lifestyle

  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Entertainment

  • ‘X-men’ filmmaker slams ‘fabricated’ sex attack claims
  • Singer Chris Brown’s bodyguard on trial in DC
  • Whoopi Goldberg debuts as marijuana columnist
  • ‘X-men’ director accused of sex assault on teen boy
  • Cannes film festival launches race for 2014 Palme d’Or
  • Business

  • Italy sells luxury state cars on eBay
  • Asian shares mostly up in quiet trade
  • Dollar up in Asia on US jobs data, Ukraine deal
  • Barbie doll has a problem
  • Oil prices mixed ahead of long Easter weekend
  • Technology

  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Filipinos #PrayForSouthKorea
  • Taylor Swift tries video blogging, crashes into fan’s bridal shower
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Last call for nominations to ’14 Presidential Awards
  • San Francisco business coalition slams proposed tax on sugary drinks
  • A ‘time-travel’ production of ‘Les Miserable’ at Stanford
  • Filipina Maryknoll sister honored for years of service
  • Malaysia quarantines 64 villagers over MERS virus
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement