vatican insider

Pope and new cardinals pay Ratzinger a visit after the consistory

Benedict XVI embraces, blesses those invested today with the red hat

Pope and new cardinals pay Ratzinger a visit after the consistory

HO / OSSERVATORE ROMANO / AFP

Pope Francis and 16 of the 17 new cardinals named in today’s consistory paid a visit to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI shortly after the ceremony.

After what was Pope Francis’ third Consistory for the creation of new cardinals, the pope and the new cardinals boarded two minibuses and headed toward the Mater Ecclesiae monastery where the pope emeritus lives.

The pope was greeted by Archbishop Georg Ganswein in the courtyard of the Mater Ecclesiae monastery, while Benedict XVI waited in the chapel.

The visit then began with a warm and powerful embrace between Francis and Benedict XVI, in the presence of the cardinals.

Benedict then went on to embrace each of the new cardinals.

Francis and Benedict XVI stood side by side at the center of the chapel. After Francis gave a nod, the pope emeritus led a prayer and imparted his blessing to the new cardinals.

Benedict XVI appeared thinner but smiling and very much involved. As will be the case for tomorrow’s closing of the Holy Door at St. Peter’s Basilica, the 89-year-old pope emeritus preferred to watch the worldwide broadcast of today’s ceremony from home.

The new cardinal missing from the group was 87-year-old Sebastian Koto Khoarai of Lesotho, Africa. Cardinal Khoarai did not make the trip to Rome for the consistory due to his advanced age and infirmity. He will receive the insignia of his new office by papal emissary.