26 September 2014, The Tablet

Pope Emeritus to appear at grandparents event

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI will make a rare public appearance on Sunday when he meets elderly people and grandparents at the Vatican. 

It will only be the 87-year-old’s third public outing since he resigned in February 2013, when he said he would “remain hidden from the world”.

Benedict XVI was present at the canonisation ceremony for John Paul II and John XXIII in April. 

And in February he attended the service in St Peter’s Basilica at which Pope Francis created his first batch of new cardinals.

The Pope Emeritus, who lives quietly in a former convent in the Vatican gardens, has been looking increasingly frail in recent months, and has been pictured walking with the help of a Zimmer frame.

He continues to dress in white, including a white zucchetto, but he does not wear the short cape or other accoutrements that are signs of the papal office.

Benedict XVI will attend the first part of an event in St Peter's Square highlighting the importance of grandparents and the elderly in society, the Vatican said, but will leave before an open-air Mass for pilgrims begins.

Pope Francis, who invited Benedict, has said that having his predecessor in the Vatican is “like having a wise old grandfather in the house”.

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