Benedict returns to Vatican to live side-by-side with Pope

Benedict returns to Vatican to live side-by-side with Pope

Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI comes home on Thursday to a new house and a new pope, as an unprecedented era begins of a retired pontiff living side-by-side with a reigning one inside the Vatican gardens.

All eyes will be on Benedict’s physical state as he is welcomed by Pope Francis at his new retirement home, a converted monastery tucked behind St. Peter’s Basilica. The last time he was seen by the public — March 23 — Benedict appeared remarkably more frail and thin than when he left the Vatican on his final day as pope three weeks earlier.

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, has acknowledged Benedict’s post-retirement decline but insists the 86-year-old German isn’t suffering from any ailment and is just old

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