VATICAN CITY, APRIL 20, 2005 (Zenit.org).- On the first full day of his pontificate, Benedict XVI left the Vatican walls and walked among the people, to go to the residence where he lived before the start of the conclave.
At 5 p.m., the Pope left by car through St. Anne’s Gate to go to his former residence.
Many people lined the Via di Porta Angelica in the brief journey the Holy Father had to make, when he returned to the Vatican around 7 p.m. He was smiling and relaxed, and greeted those present.
“I am extremely moved,” said the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger with a broad smile as he left his former home. Shortly after, he kissed some children, greeted some people, and got into the car that took him back to the Vatican.
In the morning, “the Holy Father Benedict XVI visited the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith” — over which he presided until John Paul II’s death — “where in a very cordial meeting, he greeted his men and women aides of the dicastery,” confirmed a statement by the director of the Vatican press office, Joaquín Navarro Valls.
He was received by the secretary, Archbishop Angelo Amato, and members of the dicastery.
In a festive atmosphere, the Holy Father spoke briefly, greeted all the staff and explained the meaning of the choice of his name as Roman Pontiff, which is inspired by Benedict XV’s pontificate, a man of peace, and in the role carried out by the co-patron of Europe, Benedict of Nursia.
Benedict XVI joked, recalling the words that Jesus said to his predecessor, the Apostle Peter, “when you are old, someone else will fasten your belt and lead you where you do not wish to go,” causing laughter among those present.
The Holy Father then entered the papal apartment of the Apostolic Palace removing the seals that closed it, according to the norms established for the period of the vacant see, which just ended, reported the statement published by Navarro Valls.
The chamberlain, Cardinal Eduardo Martínez Somalo; Cardinal Angelo Sodano, former Vatican Secretary of State; Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, substitute of the Secretariat of State; and other members of the Roman Curia were with the new Pope at that moment.
The Vatican Television Center broadcasted images of the Pope as he sat in his study in the papal apartment and was seen writing, on a white sheet of paper, his new signature as Pontiff.
While the papal apartment is being prepared, Benedict XVI will stay at the Domus Sanctae Marthae, the cardinals’ residence during the conclave.