Pope Francis welcomes Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI back to the Vatican

Emeritus pope and Pope Francis begin unprecedented period of co-habitation in tiny city state

The emeritus pope, Benedict XVI, was greeted by his successor on his return to the Vatican on Thursday to begin an unprecedented period of co-habitation in which two white-robed pontiffs will share the grounds of the tiny, walled city state.

Benedict, who retired at the end of February, arrived from the papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo as his successor, Pope Francis, returned to an emerging theme of his papacy, using Twitter to attack a "self-centred mindset, bent on profit at any cost" as the cause of much unemployment.

Francis welcomed his predecessor to the former convent in the Vatican gardens that will be his home for the rest of his life and then accompanied 86-year-old Benedict in a brief prayer. The sparsely decorated Mater Ecclesiae is just a few hundred metres from the Vatican guesthouse where Francis has opted to live.

Benedict will share the refurbished building with his personal secretary, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, and the four women – members of the Catholic fellowship Communion and Liberation – who cook the pope's meals and look after his household. Another secretary, Birgit Wansing, will also work in the former convent.

It was the second meeting between the popes since Francis was elected on 13 March. Ten days later, the new pontiff travelled to Castel Gandolfo in the hills south of Rome to talk and pray with Benedict, the first pope to resign voluntarily since 1294. The two have since spoken several times by telephone.

The Vatican continues to say that the pope emeritus is in good health. The papal spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, described him as "an old man, weakened by age", but without any particular illness.

Francis's Twitter message to his six million followers came the day after many countries celebrated the workers' holiday of May Day and two days after Italy published figures to show unemployment was unchanged at near a 20-year high. The rate in March was 11.5%. May Day is also a Catholic festival – that of St Joseph the worker – and the pope took the opportunity to urge politicians to take a new approach to job creation. In a sermon, he said: "Work is something more than earning a living: work gives us dignity."

He said that a society "organised in such a way that not everyone has the chance to work is not right. It is not fair. It goes against God himself."

He added: "Not paying fairly; not giving work because you are just looking at the accounts of the company; looking at what profit [you] can make: that [too] goes against God."

At Easter, Pope Francis gave an unexpected slant to the annual pontifical appeal for peace when he used it to denounce "greed looking for easy gain". In his Urbi et Orbi address, the pope appeared to put uncaring capitalism in the same category as the armed conflicts his predecessors have routinely deplored on Easter Sunday.

As archbishop of Buenos Aires, the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio had an unusually simple lifestyle. Since his election as pope, he has chosen the name of a self-denying mystic, St Francis of Assisi, and shunned many of the rich trappings of the papacy.


John Hooper in Rome

The GuardianTramp

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