Pope Francis: Thank you, Benedict, for praying for church

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has offered an affectionate, public thank-you to Benedict XVI, whose retirement from the papacy in 2013 shocked the world. Francis was addressing tourists and Romans in St. Peter’s Square on Tuesday. The pontiff triggered applause when he recalled that it was the 70th anniversary of Benedict’s ordination to the priesthood. Benedict was ordained in his native Germany. He later became a powerful Vatican cardinal before being elected pontiff in 2005 and he is now 94 and frail. Benedict decided to devote his remaining years to prayer in a monastery in Vatican City. Francis said: “Thank you, Benedict, dear father and brother” for praying for the Catholic church.