CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy (CNS) -- With a warm embrace, a helping hand, shared prayer, a long discussion and lunch together, Pope Francis spent several hours with retired Pope Benedict XVI March 23 at the papal summer villa.
Pope Francis gave Pope Benedict an icon of Mary and Jesus that the Russian Orthodox delegation to his inauguration had given him just a few days earlier.
"They told me this was Our Lady of Humility. If I may say, I thought of you," Pope Francis said. Pope Benedict, obviously moved, grasped his successor's hands.
By Cindy Wooden and Carol Glatz | Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY -- Pope Benedict XVI will continue to be known as Pope Benedict and addressed as "His Holiness," but after his resignation, he was to add the title "emeritus" in one of two acceptable forms, either "pope emeritus" or "Roman pontiff emeritus."
Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said decisions about how the pope would be addressed and what he would wear were made in consultation with Pope Benedict and with Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the chamberlain of the Church, along with others.
It's not surprising that a lot of people are unsure about the status of an "ex-pope," seeing as how we haven't had one in 600 years. The Holy Father's surprise announcement caught a lot of people off guard, to be sure, but in the context of the Church's 2,000-year history, papal resignation is not unheard of, so there's no confusion about just exactly what that status is. In order to understand it, let's review what the Church teaches about the Petrine Office.
VATICAN CITY -- The last general audience in St. Peter's Square turned into a farewell party with balloons, flowers, flags, posters, cheers, standing ovations and a touching thank-you speech from Pope Benedict XVI.
Authorities estimated about 130,000 people were in attendance, most of them packed in the square, with some spillover onto the long boulevard in front of the basilica.
VATICAN CITY -- On his last full day as pope, Pope Benedict XVI delivered an unusually personal and emotional farewell address, thanking the faithful around the world for their support and assuring them that he would remain in their service even in retirement.