I heard these words with great delight, but others found them a little strange:
@Crux It's a bit funny that Francis likens Benedict XVI to a "Grandfather" when he himself is only 9 years younger than the Pope Emeritus!
Admittedly, it is a little curious, but I, for one, am always happy to hear Pope Francis refer to Benedict XVI as a grandfather, because that is precisely how I have always perceived him to be; he simply seems to be embody everything grandfathers represent (or should). Pope Francis I do not view as a grandfather, but Benedict I do.
— David Schutz (@scecclesia) September 29, 2014
What is the difference? I do not precisely know, nor can I say with any great clarity. There is, though, something about the clarity and precision with which Benedict XVI speaks and spoke, something about his quiet and unassuming demeanor, something about the beauty of his smile, something about his commitment to a continuity with the past even while looking forward, that always reminds me of a grandfather. Seen in this light, it isn't so strange for Pope Francis to refer to him as a grandfather, even if he is only nine years older.