Pope Francis thanks Benedict XVI on his 70th ordination anniversary

“To you, Benedict, dear father and brother, goes our affection, our gratitude, and our closeness.”

The pope noted that Benedict XVI now lives in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery within the walls of Vatican City.

“He is now the contemplative of the Vatican, who spends his life praying for the Church and for the diocese of Rome, of which he is bishop emeritus,” Pope Francis said.

“Thank you for your credible witness. Thank you for your gaze, constantly directed toward the horizon of God. Thank you,” he added.

The ordination and first Mass of the future Pope Benedict XVI, Joseph Ratzinger, took place in Bavaria on June 29, 1951.

The 24-year-old Ratzinger was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Munich alongside his brother, Georg, in the Co-Cathedral of Freising, Germany.

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