Europe

Francis honors Benedict, says retirement very 'Franciscan'

  • Pope Francis talks to journalists during a press conference he held on board the airplane on his way back to the Vatican, at the end of three-day visit to Armenia, Sunday, June 26, 2016. (Tiziana Fabi/Pool photo via AP)

    Pope Francis talks to journalists during a press conference he held on board the airplane on his way back to the Vatican, at the end of three-day visit to Armenia, Sunday, June 26, 2016. (Tiziana Fabi/Pool photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Pope Francis, left, and retired Pope Benedict XVI embrace during a ceremony to celebrate Benedict's 65th anniversary of his ordination as a priest, in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace, at the Vatican, Tuesday, June 28, 2016. The ceremony served in part to show continuity from Benedict to Francis amid continued nostalgia from some conservatives for Benedict’s tradition-minded papacy. (L'Osservatore Romano/Pool photo via AP)

    Pope Francis, left, and retired Pope Benedict XVI embrace during a ceremony to celebrate Benedict's 65th anniversary of his ordination as a priest, in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace, at the Vatican, Tuesday, June 28, 2016. The ceremony served in part to show continuity from Benedict to Francis amid continued nostalgia from some conservatives for Benedict’s tradition-minded papacy. (L'Osservatore Romano/Pool photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Pope Francis, right, and retired Pope Benedict XVI greet during a ceremony to celebrate Benedict's 65th anniversary of his ordination as a priest, in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace, at the Vatican, Tuesday, June 28, 2016. The ceremony served in part to show continuity from Benedict to Francis amid continued nostalgia from some conservatives for Benedict’s tradition-minded papacy. (L'Osservatore Romano/Pool photo via AP)

    Pope Francis, right, and retired Pope Benedict XVI greet during a ceremony to celebrate Benedict's 65th anniversary of his ordination as a priest, in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace, at the Vatican, Tuesday, June 28, 2016. The ceremony served in part to show continuity from Benedict to Francis amid continued nostalgia from some conservatives for Benedict’s tradition-minded papacy. (L'Osservatore Romano/Pool photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

Pope Francis is celebrating the 65th anniversary of the ordination of his predecessor, Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, with an unprecedented ceremony inside the Vatican featuring a reigning pope honoring a retired one.

Francis entered the Clementine Hall to applause Tuesday and went straight to embrace Benedict, who stood up and removed his white skullcap in a sign of deference.

Benedict then listened intently as Francis addressed him — as "Your Holiness" — lauding his 65 years of service to the church and saying his decision to retire to a small monastery was a very "Franciscan" thing to do.

Francis has recently dismissed new questions about the implications of Benedict's resignation by insisting that there is only one pope — himself — and that Benedict had pledged his obedience to him.