The newly elected pontiff, Pope Francis travelled last Saturday to the summer residence of Castel Gandolfo for a lunch with his “brother” and predecessor Benedict XVI, marking a historic but potentially problematic confluence between two popes of the Catholic Church.
Both religious-men wore white dresses and welcomed each other in a warm embrace at the heliport in the gardens of Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome, where the former Pope lives after resigning on February 28. Amid a series of subsequent gestures Benedict made clear that for him, the pope is Francis while Francis confirmed that his predecessor is a beloved brother and his equal.
In his tour from the helipad to the palace, Francisco sat in the right of the vehicle, a place traditionally designed for the pope, while Benedict XVI sat on the left. Upon entering the chapel to pray, Benedict tried to steer Francisco to the pope’s kneeler, but he refused.
“No, we are brothers,” said the pontiff emeritus Francisco, according to Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi. Francisco wanted to pray with Benedict XVI, so both prayed next to each other. Francisco went on to give a gift to Benedict XVI, an icon of the Virgin, said that the image corresponds to “Virgin of Humility“. The meeting aroused great speculation about what might both popes talked between them.