Castel Gandolfo meeting a moment of profound communion

(Vatican Radio) Speaking exclusively to Vatican Radio, the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J., reveals the details of this morning’s historic encounter between Pope Francis and Benedict XVI, Pope Emeritus, an encounter he has described as a moment of profound and elevated communion:

“The helicopter landed in Castel Gandolfo heliport, at about 12:15 and the car with the retired Pope approached the helicopter landing site. The Holy Father alighted: he was accompanied by the Substitute [Secretary of State] Msgr. Becciu, by Msgr. Sapienza and Msgr. Alfred Xuereb. As the Pope alighted, the Pope Emeritus approached him and there was a moving embrace between the two.

Then, there followed brief greetings with those other present- the bishop of Albano and the Director of the Pontifical Villas, Mr. Petrillo – they all got in the car: Pope Francis on the right, then place reserved to the Pope, and the Pope emeritus on the left. Msgr. Georg Gänswein, who is Prefect of the Papal Household, travelled in the same car. And so, the car brought the two protagonists of this historic meeting to the elevators and they went up to the apartments and immediately went to the chapel for a moment of prayer.

In the chapel, the Pope emeritus offered the place of honor to Pope Francis, but he said: “We are brothers,” and wanted them to kneel together in the same pew. After a short moment of prayer, they then went to the private library where, at about 12:30, the private meeting began. This is the Library where the Pope normally receives important guests in Castel Gandolfo. Pope Francis brought a beautiful icon as a gift for the Pope emeritus. It was an icon of Our Lady of Humility, as a gift for Benedict XVI’s great humility. Their discussions ended at 13.15, lasting about 45 minutes. It should be noted, with regard to the clothing, which actually – as we mentioned earlier – the Pope emeritus wears a simple cassock white, without a sash and without a mantella: these are the two details which distinguish his clothing from that of Pope Francis who wears a mantella and sash.

The two Secretaries, and Msgr. Georg and Msgr. Xuereb, are expected to eat lunch with them. Thus the totally private and confidential meeting ended with the discussions in the Library. The Pope Emeritus will also accompany Pope Francis to the heliport, when the time comes for his return. Let us remember that this is not their first meeting: it is their first face-to-face meeting, but Pope Francis had many times already addressed his thoughts to the Pope emeritus, during his first appearance on the central Loggia, and then two personal calls: the night of his election and St. Joseph’s Day.

Thus, the dialogue had already started, even though the the personal, physical meeting had not yet taken place. Let us also remember that the retired Pope had already expressed his unconditional reverence and obedience to his successor at his farewell meeting with the Cardinals, February 28, and certainly in this [morning’s] meeting – which was a moment of profound and elevated communion –will have had the opportunity to renew this act of reverence and obedience to his successor, and certainly Pope Francis renewed his gratitude and that of the whole Church for Pope Benedict’s ministry during his pontificate”.

Fr. Lombardi excluded the possibility of Pope Francis and Benedict XVI appearing at the balconey together to greet the public.

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About Gertrude

Sáncte Míchael Archángele, defénde nos in proélio, cóntra nequítiam et insídias diáboli ésto præsídium.
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28 Responses to Castel Gandolfo meeting a moment of profound communion

  1. johnhenrycn says:

    For me, this report puts paid to the “carnival time is over” rumour, which, in any case, has a triumphalist tone entirely uncharacteristic, as I remarked yesterday, of our new Pontiff. And pace our Brother Burrito, who opined, also yesterday, that the quip might simply have meant that Pope Francis wants to get down to business, the context was that it was allegedly said when, just minutes after his election, an official went to drape the traditional ermine trimmed red cape over his shoulders – a moment in time that would have been marked by profound humility in the man who chose the name Pope Francis, not a moment when he’d be thinking of something with which to “diss” our last Holy Father. Yes, he declined to wear the cape. Fair enough, but otherwise, the anecdote doesn’t ring true, imho.
    In the next to last photo, on the table – is that a banker’s box full of Vatileak records which Benedict is handing over to Francis? And the two of them, clad entirely in white? Two popes sitting across from each other? An image worthy of a Rod Serling Twilight Zone episode, what?


  2. johnhenrycn says:

    There we go: a photo of the Our Lady of Humility icon given by Francis to Benedict has just been added by Gertrude to this post, and a beautiful gift it is. Thank goodness our Church loves true art. But again, there is a distinct disconnect between the man giving such a gift and the man who is purported to have snickered at the “carnival” proclivities of the recipient of the gift.


  3. Frere Rabit says:

    Interesting to see he took the humble helicopter instead of the bus from Termini to Albano. Prolly for environmental reasons.


  4. golden chersonnese says:

    Isn’t that icon the one Metropolitan Hilarion gave Pope Francis on behalf of the Patriarch of Moscow?


  5. johnhenrycn says:

    Ha, ha, Golden! You’re far more perceptive than me. I don’t know if you’re right or not, but if you say it…

    “Re-gifting” is a laughable, but popular and accepted pracitise where I am. In fact, I’ve received gifts when the recipient says, casually: “Pass it on if you already have it or don’t need it”, which is why I insist my children never give me presents, but rather take me out for a nice dinner instead, which I always need 😉


  6. johnhenrycn says:

    “when the recipient” should read: when the donor (especially when speaking of a donatio mortis causa), and I apologise for my mistake.


  7. Frere Rabit says:

    No, Golden, the icon that Metropolitan Hilarion gave Pope Francis on behalf of the Patriarch of Moscow was a paper reproduction glued onto chipboard in an IKEA frame, as they had been advised of his humble tastes.


  8. golden chersonnese says:


    I doubt that the Pope would “regift” something from the Patriarch of Moscow. Unless I am very wrong, the Pope has taken it to Castelgandolfo to live with Benedict.

    The Pope said to Benedict in the video two posts up ^ “he (Hilarion) told me that it was called Our Lady of Humility. And permit me to say, I thought of you . . . . and your pontificate.”


  9. golden chersonnese says:

    That made me giggle, Frere Rabit.


  10. golden chersonnese says:

    . . . although it was quite rood and norty.


  11. johnhenrycn says:

    Excellent link, mmvc.


  12. Gertrude says:

    Just a little note about my infuriating habit of ‘adding on’ photos! I use a variety of non-copyright sources to illustrate any post I make from Rome, and I have one rather good source who is fairly ‘prompt’ in publishing of the minute ‘photo’s. Sometimes I get them just after I have posted – hence the add-on! 🙂


  13. golden chersonnese says:

    It appears that you may have been spot on, golden

    It looks like Ms Winfield went in for a slightly more ‘dynamic’ rather than ‘literal’ translation, Maryla. And she also managed to hear the bits when the two pontiffs were speaking at the same time, which I couldn’t catch.

    In spite of Dr Moynihan’s attempted interpretation of events, I still find it all a bit puzzling that the Pope should “regift” something personally sent by the Moscow Patriarch with fraternal regard and affection (if that is in fact what the Pope did, rather than somehow “share: it with Benedict as a splendid gesture. It was obviously something that the Pope wanted the loopy media to be in on. Should we be directing our inquiries to that new American chap that the Holy See has engaged to advise on media handling?)

    Frere Rabit, any further news on the monthly Rome bus pass that Pope Francis is perhaps intending to give away?


  14. Frere Rabit says:

    I stand corrected. As a true believer in the consistency of the message, I understand that the Holy Father presented his Rome public transport “Metrebus” ticket to Georg Ganswëin when he entered the helicopter. Mgr. Georg validated it for him in the special yellow public transport validation machine which has recently been fitted to the papal helicopter. All is in order.


  15. toad says:

    No doubt the venerable pair discussed “index-linked” retirement benefits and the advisability of rapidly establishing an Old Popes’ Home.
    Extraordinary, innit? You wait years for a pope – then two come along together!
    And there’ll be another one along in a minnit – just you wait and see!


  16. Gertrude says:

    Interestingly, on our Live-Feed – I see we were visited from Castel Gandolfo. I wonder who that might have been?


  17. johnhenrycn says:

    Santo Padre, nuestra casa es su casa.

    Fr Sherlock told us at Mass today that Pope Francis will celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Supper at Casal del Marmo, a juvenile detention centre in Rome. Imagine how moving and, one hopes, life-changing it will be for those youngsters whose feet he washes.

    Has anyone else here mentioned that previously? I may have not seen your comment yet.


  18. Brother Burrito says:

    It may well have been Eccles!

    You can change your IP source location with a few clicks on Feedjit. Only trust the hit rate, not the source


  19. Frere Rabit says:

    “I see we were visited from Castel Gandolfo. I wonder who that might have been?”

    Gertrude, that was the ICT technician sent in after Pope Francis visited yesterday, instructed to look out for subversive blogs and block them on the Pope Emeritus´s pooter.


  20. Brother Burrito says:

    Just to prove the point: I am currently visiting the blog from Lumparland (Aland Islands)


  21. Frere Rabit says:

    What a clever Burro you are. I am currently visiting the blog from a supper of home-grown broad beans and a sausage.


  22. Brother Burrito says:

    Broad bands work better.


  23. johnhenrycn says:

    Hey! The Aland Islands belong to Finland, the old country of me Da, and I’ll thank you not to organize any referendums, à la Malvinas, in my neck of the woods while you’re a guest, ‘kay? Have you ever read your children a href=””>Finn Family Moomintroll, which I recall was based on Tove Jansson’s childhood experiences there? I’m planning on giving the Folio edition to my nephew – if an IVF child of two lesbians can be called a nephew – when I next see the dear boy, who I love desperately.. There are 8 or 9 places in Suomi named after members of my family/clan. How about yours in Éire or Erin or whatever you call it?


  24. Brother Burrito says:

    Actually, no I haven’t read them to my sprogs, but I remember the TV series, The Moomins.

    I thought they were hippos, but now I am better informed.


  25. Brother Burrito says:

    Sorry JH, my family name “Boghopper” has never been immortalised with a placename, but it may become a brandname for a future agricultural SUV.


  26. johnhenrycn says:

    Yes, I can just picture it, the Burrito Buggati, “Bug” for short. Next winner of the Monaco Grand Prix, to be sure. I hope the rest of your stay by the Gulf of Bothnia is a pleasant one. You’re probably one of what – 9 Catholics there right now? Just be thankful you’re not a Swedish Lutheran, and that you’re not adept at the national sport of the Åland Islands (cf: Item 3 in my authoritative link).


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