22 February 2014

A simple gesture rich in meaning

At this moment, as His Holiness Pope Francis creates 19 Cardinals for service to Holy Mother Church, His Holiness Benedict XVI is present at the consistory (in his white cassock and overcoat [because it is often quite chilly inside]) being held in the Basilica of Saint Peter.

As Pope Francis approached the altar he paused for a moments to greet his predecessor:

Notice that Benedict XVI has removed his zuchetto and holds it in his left hand as he embraces Pope Francis.

Whenever a Bishop or Cardinal - or anyone else entitled to wear the zuchetto - is in the presence of the Bishop of Rome, etiquette requires the junior to remove his zuchetto in the presence of the superior. By this simple gesture, Benedict XVI has demonstrated that he is not the Supreme Pontiff and that Pope Francis is his legitimate successor, contrary to recent claims by certain members in the international media.

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