But Benedict made clear on his final day as pope that he was renouncing the job and pledged his "unconditional reverence and obedience" to his then-unknown successor. It was a pledge he repeated in person on March 23 when Francis went to have lunch with him.
It was during that visit that the world saw how weak Benedict had become: Always a man with a purposeful walk, he shuffled tentatively that day, using his cane.
Francis, for his part, seems utterly unfazed by the novel situation. He has frequently invoked Benedict's name and work and has called him on a half-dozen occasions, making clear he has no intention of ignoring the fact that there's another pope still very much alive and now living on the other side of the garden.
Francis' gestures to Benedict during that March 23 visit were also remarkable: He refused to pray on the special papal kneeler in the small chapel of Castel Gandolfo, preferring to join Benedict on a kneeler in the pews, and referring to his predecessor as his "brother."
Now that they're neighbors, they might bump into one another on walks in the Vatican gardens or at the shrine to the Madonna, which is just a stone's throw from Benedict's new home.
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