Pope Francis, who was elected on March 13, arrived by helicopter at the papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo for a meeting and lunch with Benedict, who has been living here since he abdicated on February 28.
Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said Benedict and Francis embraced when the helicopter which brought Francis from Rome landed at the residence.
The pontiff and Benedict later prayed together in a chapel and held 45 minutes of private talks before starting a lunch, where they were joined by their two personal secretaries. Lombardi said the atmosphere was “family-like”.
When they went to pray in the chapel, Benedict offered the place of honour, a kneeler before the altar, to Francis, who declined, saying, “We are brothers, we pray together.” The two then prayed together from the same pew, Lombardi said.