The new pontiff met with his predecessor at the papal retreat of Castel Gandolfo, calling the pope emeritus "his brother."
Pope Francis traveled Saturday to this hill town south of Rome to have lunch with his "brother" and predecessor Benedict XVI, a historic and potentially problematic melding of the papacies that has never before confronted the Catholic Church.
The two men dressed in white embraced warmly on the helipad in the gardens of Castel Gandolfo, where Benedict has been living since he retired Feb. 28 and became the first pope to resign in 600 years.
And in a series of gestures that ensued, Benedict made clear that he considered Francis to be pope while Francis made clear he considered his predecessor to be very much a revered brother and equal.
Traveling from the helipad to the palazzo, Francis sat on the right-hand side of the car, the traditional place of the pope, while Benedict sat on the left. When they entered the chapel inside the palazzo to pray, Benedict tried to direct Francis to the papal kneeler at the front of the chapel, but Francis refused.
"No, we are brothers, we pray together," Francis told Benedict, according to the Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi. The two used a different kneeler in the pews and prayed together, side-by-side.
Francis brought a gift to Benedict, an icon of the Madonna, and told him that it's known as the "Madonna of Humility."
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