Saturday, March 23, 2013

VIDEO: Two Popes Meet! {Update 4}

{This post has been updated, and may get updated as more information is released}


Benedict XVI and Pope Francis met for 45 minutes .... alone. That is, no one else alone, not even their secretaries.

From VIS News (emphasis mine in bold)

Vatican City, 23 March 2013 (VIS) – Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., director of the Holy See Press Office, called this afternoon's encounter between Pope Francis and the Bishop emeritus of Rome Benedict XVI “a moment of profound communion”. Although live coverage of the historic event was not provided, recorded images of the two praying together and sitting in the library of the Castel Gandolfo Apostolic Palace has been made available. (An official photo will be published on the VIS blogsite at: when it becomes available.) Following are the notes Fr. Lombardi made of the historic event.

The Holy Father's helicopter landed at the heliport of Castel Gandolfo at 12:15pm and the Pope emeritus' car approached the landing site. Accompanying the Holy Father were: Archbishop Giovanni Angelo Becciu, substitute of the Secretariat of State; Msgr. Leonardo Sapienza, S.C.I., regent of the Prefecture of the Pontifical Household; and Msgr. Alfred Xuereb.

As soon as the Holy Father alighted, the Pope emeritus approached him and the two embraced. After briefly greeting the others present—Bishop Marcello Semeraro of Albano, Italy, and Dr. Saverio Petrillo, director of the Pontifical Villas—they got into the car to take them to the Apostolic Palace. Pope Francis took the right-hand seat, traditionally reserved for the Pope, while the Pope emeritus took the left-hand seat. Aboard the same car was also Archbishop Georg Ganswein, prefect of the Prefecture of the Pontifical Household.

The car then brought them to the elevators of the Apostolic Palace and the two protagonists of the historic meeting ascended to the papal apartments where they went straight to the chapel for a moment of prayer. In the chapel, the Pope emeritus offered the place of honour to Pope Francis, who instead responded “We are brothers” and wanted them to share the same kneeler.

After a short time of prayer they went to the apartments' library where their private meeting began around 12:30pm. It is the library where the Pope normally receives important guests at Castel Gandolfo. Their meeting lasted around 45 minutes. Pope Francis had brought a beautiful icon as a gift to the Pope emeritus.

Regarding clothing, as previously noted, the Pope emeritus wears a simple white cassock without the fascia (sash) or shoulder cape, the two details that distinguish it from Pope Francis' clothing. The completely private and confidential portion of the meeting was restricted to the library as the two secretaries, Archbishop Ganswein and Msgr. Xuereb, were expected to attend the lunch. The Pope emeritus plans to drive with the Pope to Castel Gandolfo's heliport before they take their leave of one another.

It should be noted that, although this is the first time they meet face-to-face, Pope Francis has already called the Pope emeritus to mind many times: at his first appearance at the external Loggia of the Hall of Blessings of the Vatican Basilica on the evening of his election and with two phone calls—the first that same night and the second on the Feast of St. Joseph, to send his well wishes on the Pope emeritus' saint's day. Their dialogue, therefore, had already begun before this physical meeting. Recall also that the Pope emeritus had already expressed his unconditional reverence and obedience to his successor at his final meeting with the cardinals on the last day of his pontificate, 28 March. This encounter, then—a moment of elevated and deep communion—was a chance to renew his profession of reverence and obedience. Certainly Pope Francis renewed his gratitude, and that of the whole Church, for Pope Benedict's ministry during his pontificate.


In this photo, Pope Francis is giving to Benedict XVI an icon of Our Lady of Humility in honor if his humility.

I've said so many times before that I believe Benedict XVI will some day be named a doctor of the Church.  I also believe these two men will be in contact.  I'm sure each appreciates the unique gifts bestowed on the other by God.  I wouldn't be surprised to learn some years from now that Pope Francis consulted Benedict XVI, not as Pope Emeritus, but as the great theologian that he is.

According to the EWTN catalogue where one is sold (not sure if it is the same image, so if someone has a better explanation of this specific icon, please drop me a message in the com-box or at TeDeumBlog (at) gmail (dot) com:

This image of Our Blessed Mother comes from the Russian Orthodox tradition where it is called Our Lady of Extreme Humility. Mary is known for her tenderness and humility because she accepted God's will for her life even though she knew it would cause her pain. In Western traditions, we often call this image Our Lady of Sorrows.

I love icons.  I don't know what draws me to them - perhaps God's grace.

UPDATE 5: See the amazing story behind the specific icon given by Pope Francis to Benedict XVI


From Vatican Radio's report: "We are Brothers"

(Vatican Radio) Expectations were high among the thousands of people who huddled into Castel Gandolfo’s tiny Freedom Square Saturday morning. The families, religious and teenagers gathered there had hoped to catch a glimpse of the momentous encounter between Pope Francis and Benedict XVI, Pope Emeritus. Emer McCarthy reports: But they were destined to be disappointed. The event was, as it was always meant to be, a private moment of “profound and elevated communion” between the past and present Pope. The crowds, joined by a surprisingly large number of journalists, had gathered early in the morning, well before Pope Francis’ departure from Vatican City State at noon. As his helicopter circled twice above the Square they began chanting his name and that of his predecessor who has been in residence at the Pontifical Villas since February 28th .

Also, from La Stampa's English Edition - Vatican Insider.... a commentary and some explanations.

Ratzinger-Bergoglio lunch:"A constructive meeting. It would be wrong to draw comparisons" 


Here is another video.  It has some of the same things the first one above has, but some other things, or different angles.

Something to think about...


One last note...

Dr. Robert Moynihan of Inside the Vatican Magazine has been having some excellent coverage of all things papal.  He has an e-letter I've subscribed to for a few years, but he is now finally posting them daily at a website made for this purpose.  Check it out, and if you prefer daily emails, you can subscribe there.  I know he will have a detailed post about this meeting, so keep checking his homepage.

For interesting news items I don't have time to blog on, check out my Twitter Feed: @TeDeumBlog

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