Today we will see something that, we can truly say, has never happened before. A sitting Pope meeting his predecessor over lunch. At noon, Pope Francis will take his first papal helicopter flight and make his first visit to Castel Gandolfo where he will meet with emeritus Pope Benedict XVI. What the two will discuss will undoubtedly remain a guess for now (we may hope for some report on the meeting, as well as some remarkable photo opportunities, but that is by no means certain).
In a way, we may see this as the final act of the true “handover”, although the meeting has no canonical weight whatsoever. Befitting Pope Francis, he will first and foremost visit Benedict out of courtesy, friendship and love. That, it would seem after ten days, is a very strong driving force behind his actions.
In a few months, Benedict XVI will return to the Vatican to take up his final residence in the Vatican gardens monastery. Will we see or hear anything about that, except for helicopter sightings and a media release? I personally doubt it it very much.
Photo credit: Osservatore Romano