Pope Francis recently shared his thoughts on the passing of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in an interview with the Associated Press.
He said, “I lost a dad.” He went on to describe Benedict as a “gentleman” and a “good companion.”
Pope Francis also revealed that he would often seek counsel from Benedict and would visit him at the converted monastery Mater Ecclesiae in the Vatican Gardens where he resided.
“For me, he was a security. In the face of a doubt, I would ask for the car and go to the monastery and ask.”
In the interview, he also mentioned that Benedict “opened the door” for future resignations of popes.
He described the monastery as a “good intermediate solution” but acknowledged that future retired popes may choose to do things differently.
Pope Francis also shared his own thoughts on the possibility of retiring. He confirmed that if he were to retire, he would choose the title of “bishop emeritus of Rome” rather than “pope emeritus” and he would not reside in his native Argentina or the Vatican, but in Rome.
When asked about where he would reside, he said that the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran could be a possibility, as he would like to retire “to hear confessions at a church.”
Throughout his papacy, Pope Francis has spoken highly of his predecessor.
He has referred to Benedict as a “prophet” of the Church’s future and acknowledged his leadership in responding to sexual abuse.