VATICAN CITY, APRIL 21, 2005 (Zenit.org).- For the second consecutive day, Pope Benedict XVI went outside the Vatican walls to spend a few hours in his former apartment.
The former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger went by car for the short distance, passing through St. Anne’s Gate until he arrived at the Piazza della Citta Leonina, where his old residence is located, amid the enthusiastic cries and applause of onlookers.
The Holy Father got out of the car, with license plate SCV-1, smiled and greeted those present, and went to his house, where he had as his neighbors Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos and Cardinal Pio Laghi.
It was the second spontaneous meeting between the new Pope and the faithful who came out to greet him.
While the Holy Father was in his old residence some three hours, a discreet security service was in place in the piazza.
Exiting from the residence to return to the Vatican, he was accompanied by Archbishop James Harvey, whom John Paul II had appointed prefect of his Pontifical Household.
Although Benedict XVI has already taken possession of the papal apartment, he is currently staying at the Domus Sanctae Marthae, a guesthouse in the Vatican, while the papal rooms are being painted and redecorated.
When receiving the news of his election, one of the nuns who looks after him told Bishop Cipriano Calderon, retired vice president of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America: “He will have to take his library, because he goes nowhere without his library.”
A German journalist standing under then Cardinal Ratzinger’s residence commented: “For a German professor, what is most important are his books. And now he is collecting them.”
Cardinal Ratzinger walked every day from his residence to his office in the Vatican. Now, as Benedict XVI, he must go by car for security reasons.