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Pope says Benedict XVI should return to Church life

Abdicated pontiff 'not a museum piece, but an institution'

05 March, 13:59
Pope says Benedict XVI should return to Church life (see related) (ANSA) - Rome, March 5 - Pope Francis says his predecessor Benedict XVI should continue to participate in Church life after stepping down one year ago. "We decided together that it is better if he sees people and gets out. He is not a museum piece but an institution," said Francis in an interview published Wednesday in Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, ahead of the first anniversary of his election as pontiff next week.

The former archbishop of Buenos Aires likened Benedict's current role to that of grandparents within a family.

"They strengthen families and don't deserve to finish their lives in a rest home," he said. When Benedict became the first pope to voluntarily abdicate in over 700 years, he moved into a home on the Vatican grounds and swore he would remain "hidden from the world" so as not to create confusion regarding leadership of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics. But in a rare break from that vow, the retired pope made a public appearance two weeks ago at a ceremony led by Francis in St. Peter's Basilica to appoint new cardinals.