Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI Moving Back To Vatican City

By: CBS News (Posted by Josh Mabry)
By: CBS News (Posted by Josh Mabry)

(CBS News) Former Pope Benedict XVI makes a return to Vatican City more than two months after retiring.

At any other time in church history, the prospect of two popes in Vatican City at the same time would provoke fears of a schism, CBS News' Allen Pizzey noted. Benedict's arrival on Thursday will be less fraught than that, but there are concerns about what influence his presence could have.

When he left the Vatican, Benedict's staff bade him an emotional public farewell. His spectacular flight into exile was watched live by a worldwide audience.

Just before Benedict abdicated the papal throne, he said he would "withdraw into prayer," and live out his remaining days "hidden from the world." That lasted for about as long as it took Pope Francis to unpack his bags and grab his own flight to meet the man now known as Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

There was no transcript of their private conversation, and there is no official word on whether or not the pope and the pope emeritus will meet to discuss church issues.

However, if they want to chat, Benedict's new home in a restored convent behind St. Peter's Basilica is a 15-minute stroll from the guest house Pope Francis has chosen in preference to the grandeur of the Apostolic Palace apartments.

The Vatican spokesman said the 86-year-old Benedict is "weakened by age," but denied rumors he is in failing health.

The two popes differ in style, but are both traditionalists, with similar strict views on abortion, gay rights and other ethical issues. Pope Francis, for example, used the phrase "slave labor" in reference to the garment factory disaster in Bangladesh -- a moral stance that would find no argument from his soon-to-be close neighbor. Pope Francis will meet Benedict at the door of his new home.

For Allen Pizzey's full "CTM" report, watch the video in the player above.

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