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Two Popes, Living Side By Side

For the first time, the Catholic Church has a retired pope living alongside the reigning pope.

Pope Benedict XVI (left) and Pope Francis (L’Osservatore Romano via Getty Images)

The Vatican says Emeritus Pope Benedict is pleased to be back at what is now his new retirement home — a converted monastery on the edge of the Vatican gardens.

He returned there today from the papal retreat south of Rome, where he’d been since his resignation at the end of February.

He was welcomed by Pope Francis. A photo released by the Vatican shows the two men, their hands clasped and both smiling, standing inside the doorway of Benedict’s new home.

A statement says the new pope welcomed his predecessor with “brotherly cordiality.” It says the two men went to an adjoining chapel to pray together.

The Vatican says Benedict will now “dedicate himself to the service of the church above all with prayer.”

A Vatican spokesman has said Benedict, who is 86, isn’t suffering from any specific ailment — but that “he is old and his strength is slowly ebbing.”

 

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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