"I'm sure he's just really busy right now," insists former pontiff.
photo credit: Catholic Church (England and Wales)
N RESPONSE TO the news that Pope Francis had postponed his visit to former Pope Benedict XVI to another day as yet unspecified, the ex pontiff insisted that he was not troubled in the least by what some are considering a papal snub.
"I'm not bothered, honestly," said Benedict. "I'm sure he's just really busy right now. I'll just sit here in my quarters, praying for his success."
Benedict went on to endorse the conclave's decision to name Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina as his successor.
"I'm sure the cardinals made the best choice possible. The whole Latin America thing is really, um, different. No, really, I love it. I'm sure our followers worldwide will get used to the idea eventually and realize it was for the best," said the former pope.
"Of course, I'll let Pope Francis know of my support in person, that is if he can find time in his busy schedule to meet with the former Vicar of Christ and everything," said Benedict XVI.
Since most popes have taken office upon the death of a predecessor, Benedict was asked what might take place in a conversation between two men who have held the highest office in the Catholic church.
"Oh, goodness me, what would we talk about. Well, I could humbly offer Pope Francis a wealth of counsel. Guide him through his difficult first few months. In other words, set him on his way in a manner that almost no pontiff in history could ever have dreamed of, that's all.
"But I guess it will have to wait until 'Francis' has a few minutes to spare," he added. "In the meantime, I've got all this reading to do and whatnot."
The retired pope said he would "eagerly await and welcome" any day that Pope Francis designates for his visit with Benedict XVI, but cautioned the new pontiff not to wait unduly long.
"It's just that I've been feeling a little poorly of late. Oh, I'm sure it's nothing, just a little bug I caught with all the excitement surrounding my retirement," said Benedict. "I'm sure nothing will happen to me while our new pope dithers over fitting me in."
© 3.15.13 Kate Heidel