Pope Francis to call on Benedict next Saturday, also will meet with Argentine president

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VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis will visit his predecessor at the papal retreat at Castel Gandolfo next Saturday, an eagerly anticipated meeting given the novelty of having a reigning and retired pope side-by-side. He will also meet with the Argentine president, whom he has criticized for her liberal measures.

Francis will fly by helicopter March 23 to the retreat in the hills south of Rome and will have lunch with Benedict XVI before returning to the Vatican, the Holy See said in a statement Saturday.

Benedict resigned Feb. 28, the first pontiff in 600 years to step down. Francis was elected on Wednesday.

Francis will also meet with the Argentine president, Christina Kirchner, on the eve of his installation Mass on Tuesday, the Vatican said.

The former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio has been an outspoken critic of Kirchner, who has imposed socially liberal measures that are anathema to the church, from gay marriage and adoption to free contraceptives for all.

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