Pope Benedict XVI makes rare foray outside of the Vatican

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Former Pope Benedict XVI has made a rare foray outside of his secluded Vatican residence, the Vatican confirmed on Friday.

The 92-year-old spent on Thursday afternoon and evening in the Castelli Romani area just outside Rome, Vatican spokesman, Matteo Bruni, said in a statement that backed up media reports.

Benedict visited the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, a Virgin Mary shrine in the town of Rocca di Papa and had dinner with the local bishop of Frascati, Bruni said.

The excursion took place amid a heatwave in Rome.

The retired pontiff lives in a monastery inside the Vatican grounds.

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When he quit office in 2013, announcing the first papal resignation in almost 600 years, he pledged to “remain hidden to the world.’’

Since then, he has appeared in public only a few times.

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