By Jane Nambi
Pope Francis welcomed Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI to his new retirement home.
The new home is a converted monastery tucked behind St. Peter’s Basilica. This is the first time that Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI has been seen in the public. He was last seen on March 23.
The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, has acknowledged Benedict’s post-retirement decline. However, he has insisted the 86-year-old German isn’t suffering from any ailment and is just old. “He is a man who is not young: He is old and his strength is slowly ebbing,” Lombardi said this week. “However, there is no special illness. He is an old man who is healthy.”
Benedict chose to leave the Vatican immediately after his resignation which, among other things, gave workers time to finish renovations on the monastery. He will live with his personal secretary, Monsignor Georg Gaenswein, and the four consecrated women who look after him, preparing his meals and tending to the household. “It is certainly small but well-equipped,” Lombardi said.