Father Benedict’s Busy Summer Vacation

Schedule for the pope emeritus includes reception of honorary doctorate, inauguration of a library named for him and stay at Castel Gandolfo.

Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI (photo: Mazur/catholicnews.org.uk)

VATICAN CITY — Benedict XVI’s summer is set to be the most active since he stepped down from the pontificate in 2013, with plans for participation in at least two public events and a two-week stay at the papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo.

“Pope Francis invited Benedict XVI to spend some time in Castel Gandolfo in the month of July, and Benedict accepted,” Father Federico Lombardi told journalists on June 15. Benedict XVI is expected to be there for two weeks, although no official dates have been disclosed.

Castel Gandolfo, which lies about 15 miles southeast of Rome, has not been officially used as a papal residence since Benedict XVI — who now goes by “Father Benedict” — spent just over two months there following his Feb. 28, 2013, resignation from the See of Peter. He currently lives in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican Gardens.

Pope Francis is not expected to join his predecessor this summer, according to Father Lombardi.

In his first two summers, the Argentinian Pope has remained at the Vatican’s Santa Marta residence, where he resides the rest of the year.

While in Castel Gandolfo on July 3, Benedict XVI is also set to receive an honorary doctorate from the Krakow, Poland-based Pontifical University of John Paul II and its music academy. The honor specifically recognizes Benedict’s “great respect for the musical tradition of the Church” and “special concern for the noble beauty of sacred music and its proper place in the celebration of the sacred liturgical rites of the Church,” according to a press release from the university.

Back at the Vatican at the end of August, Benedict XVI will also take part in the inauguration of the “Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI Roman Library” at the Pontifical Teutonic College on Aug. 30.

The Ratzinger Foundation confirmed to CNA that he will first celebrate Mass at the college for this year’s meeting of his former theology students, called the “Schulerkreis.” Following Mass, he will take part in an inauguration ceremony at the library. The library section dedicated to his life and thought is currently in the process of being catalogued. It includes books by or about him and his studies, many donated by Benedict XVI himself.