There will be no more surprises this time from Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI as he did during the recent installation of 19 new cardinals. Pope Francis has revealed his predecessor will now come out of retirement to rejoin the church life.
Pope Francis told Italian daily Corriere della Sera it was a decision they both agreed to.
Pope Francis (L) greets Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI during a consistory ceremony in Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican February 22, 2014. Pope Francis urged 19 freshman cardinals to shun rivalries and factions at an induction ceremony on Saturday where his scandal-plagued predecessor, pope Benedict, made a surprise appearance. REUTERS/Osservatore Romano
"The emeritus pope isn't a statue in a museum. He's an institution," the reigning Pope said. "We talked about it and we decided together that it would be better if he sees people, gets out and participates in the life of the church."
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, when he resigned from the post as supreme pontiff in February 2013, vowed to all believers and non-believers of the Roman Catholic faith that he would live a life hidden away so as not to interfere with the administration and decisions of his successor, who is Pope Francis.
But then he showed up at the February 2014 installation of 19 new cardinals under Pope Francis' reign. It was monumental in all fronts since it was the very first time that two popes were present in an event at St Peter's. Benedict XVI's attendance surprised everyone, except for Pope Francis it seemed.
Pope Francis much welcomed the presence of his predecessor. He believed the elder generations surely have a dearth of wisdom to offer younger generations.
"Some might have wanted him to retire away in a Benedictine abbey far from the Vatican," Pope Francis said. "I thought about grandparents who with their wisdom and advice give strength to their families and don't deserve to end up in an old folks' home."
Benedict XVI is expected to attend the April 27 canonisations of popes John Paul II and John XXIII.
Framed pictures of Pope Francis (L-R), Pope Benedict XVI and Pope John Paul II hang on the wall inside the Gammarelli tailor shop in Rome February 11, 2014. As the Vatican prepares to welcome 19 prelates to the high rank of cardinal, Pope Francis' call for frugality has had little effect on business for the Gammarelli family, suppliers of sumptuous clerical robes for more than two centuries. Picture taken February 11, 2014. REUTERS/Max Rossi
In the same interview with Corriere della Sera, Pope Francis hinted he may go the way of his predecessor when it's his time step down from the post comes.
"It should be an institution," he said. "He [Benedict] is the first and perhaps there will be others," he said.
Pope Francis' statement somehow confirms the insinuations made by observers in 2013 that the resignation of Benedict XVI will become a precedent for successive popes to emulate.
Both are observing first year anniversaries in their respected church lives - Benedict his first year as resigned pope and Francis his first year as incumbent pope.
The Vatican, on the occasion of Pope Francis' election anniversary on March 13, has issued new coins and stamps.