Dec 27, 2013

Retired Pope Benedict visits Pope Francis for lunch



(CNS photos/L'Osservatore Romano via Reuters)

By Francis X. Rocca

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Three days after Pope Francis paid his predecessor a visit on Christmas Eve, retired Pope Benedict Catholic News Service joined the pope for lunch at the Vatican guesthouse.

The two shared the meal Dec. 27 at the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where Pope Francis lives. According to a report by Vatican Radio, the pope and the retired pope were joined by their personal secretaries and by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, the Vatican's secretary for relations with states, and U.S. Msgr. Peter B. Wells, assessor in the Vatican Secretariat of State.

Pope Francis had invited Pope Benedict to lunch Dec. 24, when the pope visited the retired pope in his residence to offer Christmas greetings. Pope Benedict lives in the former Mater Ecclesiae convent, also in Vatican City State. During the pope's visit, the two prayed briefly together and then spoke privately for about half an hour.

Following their private talk on Christmas Eve, Pope Francis greeted members of Pope Benedict's household, including the consecrated women who assist him and his personal secretary, Archbishop Georg Ganswein, who also serves as prefect of the papal household under Pope Francis.