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Benedict joins Francis at cardinals ceremony

First time two popes at public ceremony in St Peter's

22 February, 12:00
Benedict joins Francis at cardinals ceremony (see previous).

(ANSA) - Vatican City, February 22 - Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI joined Pope Francis as 18 cardinals were appointed Saturday - the first time two popes have been present at a public ceremony in St Peter's.

Francis walked down the nave to embrace his predecessor, who shocked the world last February by becoming the first pope in 700 years to abdicate.

Francis was to have named 19 cardinals but one, 98-year-old Archbishop Loris Capovilla, former secretary to the late pope John XXIII, was absent because of age-related frailty.

The pope gave the cardinals their red caps signifying their willingness to die for the Catholic Church, telling them "the Church needs your courage".