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Benedict to move back to the Vatican, two months after resignation

The Pope Emeritus is likely to return to the Vatican on Thursday, a spokesman for the Holy See said.

Pope Benedict XVI walks away after giving his last public blessing as pope earlier this year
Pope Benedict XVI walks away after giving his last public blessing as pope earlier this year
Image: AP Photo/Andrew Medichini

POPE EMERITUS BENEDICT XVI will “probably” return to the Vatican on Thursday, a spokesman for the Holy See said, two months after the German pontiff’s resignation stunned the world.

For the first time in history, a retired pope and a serving pope will both be resident in Vatican City, the world’s smallest state.

Benedict will move into the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery, a two-storey brick building on a hilltop inside Vatican walls overlooking St Peter’s that has been renovated especially for the former pope.

Spokesman Federico Lombardi declined to be drawn on the practicalities of the move or whether he would be greeted by Pope Francis, saying only: “There is no fixed programme at this stage.”

Since Benedict dramatically stepped down as pontiff on 28 February, he has been living in the Castel Gandolfo, a luxurious 136-acre property, which is larger than the Vatican City itself, located 25 kilometres southeast of Rome.

As he had promised, Joseph Ratzinger has led an extremely discreet life since he stepped down and has not made any comment on Vatican affairs.

- © AFP, 2013

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