Joseph Ratzinger has returned to the Vatican. He’d been staying at Castel Gandolfo, which popes have used as a summer residence, since he left the Vatican on February 28.
(I refer to Castel Gandolfo that way because who knows if Francis will chose to use it. Perhaps he’ll embark on a papal summer mission trip after World Youth Day in Rio? World Youth Day itself is a mission trip, as it happens, one that will bear tremendous fruit, if the past — and Francis himself — is any indication.)
Pope Benedict XVI is now Pope Emeritus, and he is back where we assume he will spend his last days – however many there may be – living a life of prayer.
He traveled by helicopter back to the Vatican.
Pope Francis was waiting for him at the convent where Benedict will reside; they prayed together in a chapel.
Don’t expect a joint press conference anytime soon. This is pure speculation, but I do wonder if B16 might just wind up concelebrating a canonization Mass for his good friend John Paul II should the time come for that much-anticipated event. I suspect it will take some convincing on Francis’s part to pull that off, and, of course, discernment on the part of the Pope Emeritus that that would be what God wants of him.
What a scene it would be, from a historic point of view: The homilist at Karol Wojtyla’s funeral Mass, his close friend, who went on to succeed him as pontiff, having resigned as pope, concelebrating that same man’s canonization Mass. Again, pure speculation. And I wouldn’t expect he would be the homilist, but I wouldn’t be surprised if his brother Francis asked him to be.