Ex-pope Benedict returns to Vatican to live alongside Francis | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 02.05.2013
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Ex-pope Benedict returns to Vatican to live alongside Francis

Benedict XVI has moved back into the Vatican. The church’s media service announced shortly after Benedict’s arrival that expected video coverage would not be provided, sparking doubts over the state of his health.

The first pope to abdicate in almost 600 years, Benedict will live out his retirement alongside four nuns and his secretary, Georg Gänswein, in a convent in the Vatican gardens with a view of the dome of St. Peter's Basilica. The new abode is just a short walk from the residence of his successor, Francis.

The 86-year-old ex-pope, born Joseph Ratzinger in Bavaria, arrived by helicopter from Castel Gandolfo, the papal summer residence south of Rome, where he had been staying since Feb. 28 while the convent was being restored.

"He is happy to be back at the Vatican ... where he intends to dedicate himself to the service of the Church, above all with prayer," read a statement that added that the popes prayed in the chapel of the small building upon Benedict's return.

Shortly before his resignation, Benedict said he would live out his remaining days "hidden from the world." Upon his return to the Vatican, the pope emeritus also renewed a pledge of "unconditional reverence and obedience" to Francis.

Vatican officials have said that the men, who wear slightly different white vestments, would likely meet occasionally and perhaps confer on church matters but that Francis will reign as his own pope.

mkg/msh (Reuters, AFP, dpa, AP)