Pope Francis Joined By Retired Pope Benedict For Ceremony

The former pope attended a cardinal-naming ceremony presided over by his successor

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Franco Origlia / Getty Images

Former Pope Benedict approaches Francis at a cardinal-making ceremony on February 22, 2014 in Vatican City.

Pope Francis was joined at ceremony to name 19 new cardinals Saturday by retired Pope Benedict XVI, the first time Francis and Benedict have appeared together at a public liturgical ceremony since Benedict retired last year.

Benedict entered St. Peter’s Basilica from a side entrance and was met with tears and applause from shocked onlookers in the pews, reports the Associated Press. His presence indicated continuity and even approval of Francis’ choice of 19 cardinals, announced last month, from a diverse range of countries around the world, which signaled the Catholic Church’s refocus on the poor and marginalized.

The former and the current pope embraced twice during the ceremony, and Benedict removed his white skullcap as a sign of respect for Francis, smiling and waving nearly a year after he became the first pope to retire in 600 years.