Pope Francis visits Benedict XVI

From VIS:

Vatican City, 23 March 2013 (VIS) – At noon today, the Holy Father Francis travelled by helicopter to Castel Gandolfo to meet and have lunch with Pope emeritus Benedict XVI. Accompanying Benedict XVI to greet Pope Francis on his arrival were Bishop Marcello Semeraro of Albano, Italy, and Dr. Saverio Petrillo, director of the Pontifical Villas.
This is the first time that the Church is experiencing a meeting between the Pope and an Emeritus Pope. [Pope “Emeritus”, perhaps, though that term is to my mind… problematic.  Can we imagine that Boniface VIII didn’t have chat with Celestine?] Even though the two have spoken by telephone several times since Pope Francis’ election as the 266th Pope ten days ago, [“Hello? Yes, good afternoon Your Holiness, this is Francis. How are we today?”… pause… “Yes, Your Holiness.  I renewed my total obedience to Your…”.  “Yes, thank you dear friend.  Could you tell me… if it isn’t too much trouble… where did you leave the garage door opener?”] this is the first time that they are meeting face to face. Although live coverage of the historic event will not be provided, the Press Office of the Holy See has announced that there will be an official photo of the two together in the library of the Castel Gandolfo Apostolic Palace. (When available, the photo will be published on the VIS blogsite at: http://www.visnews-en.blogspot.it/)
After meeting privately and sharing lunch, the Holy Father Francis is scheduled to return to the Vatican this afternoon, again by helicopter.

Oh to be a fly on the wall!

I am listening to Vatican Radio live and coverage of the Pope’s visit to the former Pope.

More, if something interesting comes up.  There is no scheduled appearance of both Popes … together…. wow, that’s weird to write.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. StJude says:

    I’d love to be a fly on the wall as well.

  2. TLM says:

    Fr. Z, lol… Where is the garage door opener…
    Thanks for the chuckle.

  3. Nancy D. says:

    Pope Francis meeting with our Holy Father. That is weird to write.

  4. APX says:

    If we start seeing red shoes, we can probably rightly suspect something was either mentioned or alluded to during the visit. [Your planet’s yellow sun does not give me psychic powers, but had I tuned in my super hearing, that is NOT one of the subjects I would have heard discussed.]

  5. The Masked Chicken says:

    “I’d love to be a fly on the wall as well.”

    Or a chicken in the pot…no, wait, scratch that…

    The Chicken

  6. The Masked Chicken says:

    Dumb question, but is there a papal helicopter? If the presidential helicopter is Marine One, I wonder what the papal helicopter is called? Holiness One?

    The Chicken

  7. OrthodoxChick says:

    It’s only been (what?) 9 days since Pope Francis appeared on the loggia? And in that brief amount of time, there has already been 2 phone calls and 1 personal visit between them. Dear Lord, please let this be the start of a deep, abiding friendship between them.

    Pope Francis seems to have a very different papal “style” (for want of a better term) than Pope Emeritus Benedict, but even so, imagine the wonderful possibilities if Pope Francis opens himself to being mentored in some areas by Pope Em. Benedict. Dare I hope for something so potentially transformative as a Pope Francis who attracts fallen-away catholics, and also attracts traditionalists by developing a love and appreciation for the EF? Well, I do dare to hope for this and am praying for it as well.

    Cool!! As I was typing this, Fox news just showed a video clip of the Popes hugging one another and praying together. It was SOOOOO beautiful!!!!!!

  8. OrthodoxChick says:


    I think there is. Seriously. I think it’s called “Shepherd 1”. Someone else can correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought I heard someone on EWTN mention that during their coverage of Pope Benedict leaving St. Peter’s and flying to Castel Gandolfo.

  9. Tradster says:

    I sure hope Pope Francis got an earful about the “dress-down Fridays” style of his Papacy.

  10. my kidz mom says:

    Yes, Chicken and OrthodoxChick…here is a photo of Pope JPII disembarking Shepherd I in 1987:

  11. majuscule says:

    I am glad that he did take the helicopter rather than public transport (if there is any). I can’t foresee him over-using it for joyriding around Italy or beyond. But as long as it’s there he could use it to save a little time.

    This discussion puts me in mind of the news reports when then Pope Benedict had stepped down and was leaving via helicopter. The reports said that he didn’t drive a car but had his helicopter license and often (?) piloted himself, even though he wasn’t personally in the pilot’s seat at that time.

  12. Charivari Rob says:

    In all the coverage on Feb 28, the helicopter was described as provided by the Italian government/military. I have no idea if they have a similar practice to the USA using the “Air Force One” and “Marine One” call signs.

    In the photo my kidz mom linked, that’s a TWA jet in the photo with “Shepherd I” emblazoned on the side, from a 1980s visit to the USA.

    I recall some trip I took to Ireland in the 80s. The Aer Lingus plane I was on for one leg of the trip was the actual plane that had carried JPII on his Ireland trip. There was a small plaque marking that bit of history, affixed to one of the inner walls near the main cabin door.

  13. John Allen makes a great point, that Pope Francis has good reason to be happy having Benedict around: if you’ll pardon the Godfather reference, as Michael Corleone said, “whose a better consigliere than my father?”

    I am 99.99999 percent certain Benedict will not presume to question or correct the Pope’s decisions. But he can be extremely helpful as an advisor. And the Pope has freedom to follow that advice or not — I.e., Benedict won’t stir the pot if his advice isn’t heeded.

    As a pastor, I had this situation, and oh my yes, was it a consolation.

  14. Charivari Rob says:

    mamajuscule: This discussion puts me in mind of the news reports when then Pope Benedict had stepped down and was leaving via helicopter. The reports said that he didn’t drive a car but had his helicopter license and often (?) piloted himself, even though he wasn’t personally in the pilot’s seat at that time.


    The “not a car driver” thing mostly got debunked when several accounts surfaced of him having a car (as a Cardinal) that he occasionally drove around Rome and was allegedly sold on the internet or something after he became Pope.

    I could never find anything to substantiate the helicopter pilot story. Everything I found seemed to link back to some (poorly written) CNA “interesting facts about the Pope” article written for children around the time of BXVI’s state visit to the USA. I think it was meant to say “he flies in the Papal helicopter to a lot of places” and “likes flying in the Papal helicopter”, but it came out as “flies the papal helicopter”. I don’t know where the “licensed pilot” bit came from.

  15. chantgirl says:

    I imagine that the meeting may have been sobering for Pope Francis, much as a newly elected President of the US’ first intelligence briefing would be. I’m he was warned about many potential enemies and dangers. Pope Francis is lucky to have the opportunity to learn about the allegiances and intrigues of the Curia from a living predecessor. In a way, Benedict XVI may now be the most dangerous man in Rome as he has not taken his information to the grave, but can be readily consulted by the current Pope. Perhaps I’m going too “James Bond” here, but since no minutes of their meeting were released my imagination went there.

  16. quovadis74 says:

    There is never two popes or two pontiffs in the Church. We must abandon this kind of language because it is causing confusion among the faithful and non-Catholics alike.


  17. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    It is good to see the lately posted words of (the then) Cardinal Ratzinger – “That’s not the way it is in the Church” – so underlined in practice. If only Stephen VI and Sergius III, for example, had realized this as clearly (by way of a reminder of How Bad It Can Get)!

  18. anna 6 says:

    The helicopter story is very amusing. He probably sat in the pilot’s seat a few times, but I HIGHLY doubt that he had a license.When Benedict met with Mayor Bloomberg on the steps of St. Patrick’s cathedral local TV reports could hear Bloomberg saying something along the lines of “so, I understand you like to fly helicopters…so do I!!” Benedict responded with a “huh? I have no idea vat you just said to me but, sank you, it is nice to meet you too.” Later Bloomberg confirmed the pope’s helicopter license in interviews.

    Ratzinger was famous for riding a bicycle, walking and taking public buses before moving to Rome. (as opposed to Kung’s red Alfa Romeo Giulia). That is not at all unusual for European men of his age who lived in the city to not own cars then or now. Heck, most people in NYC don’t own or drive cars even today. The car was registered to him, but was probably used by his driver.

    As for the title pope emeritus. I don’t have a problem with it at all. In his final general audience, he explained:
    “I no longer bear the power of office for the governance of the Church, but in the service of prayer I remain, so to speak, in the enclosure of Saint Peter.”
    People will still refer to him as Pope Benedict anyway…much as in the way we refer to Pope JPII and all past pontiffs, but it is clear that he has no jurisdiction and that he has pledged obedience to Pope Francis.

    Very moving pictures of the historic meeting. I miss that dear man. I am so grateful that he will be praying for Francis and the Church.

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  20. BLB Oregon says:

    His Holiness Benedict XVI wasn’t deposed. Pope Francis is very capable of listening and very capable of making decisions when he has–hence his motto. I think they will be the model of mutual esteem, mutual support, and a mutually profound and natural understanding of how one man hands on the Petrine ministry to his successor while he still lives, should this situation come up again in the future.

    We are to have an emeritus Archbishop in our archdiocese very soon, and I have no doubt that it will be fine. He was always faithful, but he will not have to be pried out of his cathedral, let us just say that. He is ready for a “schedule” that leaves plenty of time to pray….and no committees!

  21. jflare says:

    Had a rather amusing thought: During their meeting, it wouldn’t surprise me so much if Benedict mentioned something to Francis along the lines of “sucks to be you, dude!”. Granted, it wouldn’t be that..crass..between them, but I’m thinking that Benedict probably has been only too happy to let Francis to take over the worries of the Church.

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