Pope Francis Tells Benedict: "We're Brothers"

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy (AP) - Pope Francis and former Pope Benedict have concluded their meeting at the papal retreat south of Rome, where Benedict has been living since becoming the first pontiff in 600 years to resign.

The Vatican says the two spoke privately for 40 to 45 minutes, then had lunch. Few details were released, but their gestures indicated that Benedict treated Francis as pope while Francis treated his predecessor as an equal.

In the chapel where they prayed together, Benedict offered Francis the traditional kneeler used by the pope. The Vatican says Francis refused to take it alone, saying "We're brothers," and the two prayed together on the same one.

The Vatican spokesman, Rev. Federico Lombardi said he understands Benedict offered his pledge of obedience to the new pope, while Francis thanked Benedict for his ministry.

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