May 2, 2013, Thursday — “Here one can work well”
When Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, 86, came back to the Vatican today, expected video of the event was not released.
This lead some observers to speculate that Benedict might not be in good physical health and that the Vatican did not want to reveal that.
But now a photo from the Osservatore Romano has been released, showing the first meeting of Benedict with Pope Francis. The photo seems to set aside any worries about the former Pope’s health.
Benedict seems in fine form, aged but healthy, despite the stress of last year’s “Vatileaks” affair and the decision to resign the papacy.
When he first saw his new home today in the Vatican gardens, Benedict said, “The house is comfortable, one can work well here” (“La casa e’ accogliente, qui si puo’ lavorare bene“).
From these words, one has the impression that Benedict intends to study, and perhaps also to write, as well as to pray, in his new home “in the yard (“recinto“) of St. Peter,” where he will live out the rest of his days “hidden from the world.”
If that is the case, it suggests that we may yet expect something more in the future from the mind and spirit of this former Pope, who has over the years offered such a perceptive critique of the temptations, shadows and dangers facing our modern world, and the centrality of Christ in resisting those temptations, and overcoming and dispelling those shadows and dangers, bringing peace, reason and joy.
The two Popes seem genuinely happy to see one another, and one could suspect that they will be in contact in the weeks and months ahead.
In the background, in the doorway, behind Benedict’s head, one can discern the face of Archbishop Georg Gaenswein, Benedict’s personal secretary, who in recent weeks has been the “go between” between Benedict and Francis. His broad smile is an indication that this return of the old Pope to the Vatican is not in any way a problematic matter, but a moment of peace and joy… a welcome homecoming.