Pope Francis embraces Pope emeritus Benedict XVI in Castel Gandolfo
Pope Francisco and Benedict XVI praying together
Pope Francis went today to pay a visit to his predecessor Joseph Ratzinger in Castel Gandolfo, Italy, where he is living from the day of his resignation as Pope Benedict XVI awaiting for the moment to move permanently to the monastery “Mater Ecclesiae” in the Vatican city. We know little about the encounter, because it was private. According to the Vatican, the Pope emeritus was waiting and as soon as the Holy Father alighted, approached him and the two embraced.
At the they went straight to the chapel for a moment of prayer. In the chapel, Ratzinger offered the place of honour to Pope Francis, who instead responded “We are brothers” and wanted them to share the same kneeler. After that they had a meeting in the library for about 45 minutes.
Always according the Vatican sources, this encounter was
“a moment of elevated and deep communion”.
And also was a chance for Benedict XVI to renew his profession of reverence and obedience to the new Pope he already did in front of all the cardinals before his resignation.
“Certainly Pope Francis renewed his gratitude, and that of the whole Church, for Pope Benedict’s ministry during his pontificate”, said the Vatican.
It was a historic meeting. Two popes, one in office and other emeritus. Some media are talking about the danger of a “duality” in the Church in this situation. I don’t think so knowing the Pope emeritus and what we are getting to know about the new Pope. He said he will retire to a life of prayer secluded in a monastery continuing this way his service to the Church. And I remember now how often he talked lately about the need of silence. Silence to be able to hear God in our souls, to be able to live like humans, even in one of his lasts messages to the Journalists wrote about silence:
“If the desire for virtual connectedness becomes obsessive, it may in fact function to isolate individuals from real social interaction while also disrupting the patterns of rest, silence and reflection that are necessary for healthy human development”.
I think Benedict XVI, who wrote so well and with so great deepness and richness, understand so well the value of silence that there is no danger of “dualism”. And as a faithful servant of the vineyard of the Lord, he will do what he said: pray in silence for the Church an obey the new Pope in everything.