Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI (Latin: Benedictus XVI; Italian: Benedetto XVI; German: Benedikt XVI.; born Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger, German: [ˈjoːzɛf ʔaˈlɔʏzi̯ʊs ˈʁatsɪŋɐ], on 16 April 1927) is a retired prelate of the Catholic Church who served as the head of the Church and the sovereign of the Vatican City State from 2005 until his resignation in 2013. Benedict's election as pope occurred in the 2005 papal conclave that followed the death of Pope John Paul II. Benedict chose to be known by the title "pope emeritus" upon his resignation.[10][11]


Benedict XVI
Bishop of Rome
Benedict XVI in 2008
DioceseDiocese of Rome
SeeHoly See
Papacy began19 April 2005
Papacy ended28 February 2013
PredecessorJohn Paul II
Ordination29 June 1951
by Michael von Faulhaber
Consecration28 May 1977
by Josef Stangl
Created cardinal27 June 1977
by Paul VI
Personal details
Birth nameJoseph Aloisius Ratzinger
Born (1927-04-16) 16 April 1927 (age 94)
Marktl, Bavaria, Weimar Republic
ResidenceMater Ecclesiae Monastery, Vatican City
ParentsJoseph Ratzinger Sr.
Maria Peintner
Previous post(s)
EducationUniversity of Munich (BA, MA, PhD)
MottoCooperatores veritatis
('Cooperators of the truth')[1]
Coat of arms

Philosophy career
Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger
Notable work
Jesus of Nazareth
Introduction to Christianity
Eschatology: Death and Eternal Life
Deus caritas est
EraContemporary philosophy
RegionWestern Philosophy
InstitutionsUniversity of Bonn
University of Münster
University of Tübingen
University of Regensburg
Main interests
Christian theology, ecclesiology, piano
Notable ideas
Ordination history
Diaconal ordination
Ordained byJohannes Baptist Neuhäusler [de]
Date29 October 1950
Priestly ordination
Ordained byMichael von Faulhaber
Date29 June 1951
PlaceFreising Cathedral , Freising, Bavaria , Germany 
Episcopal consecration
Principal consecratorJosef Stangl
Co-consecratorsRudolf Graber [de], and Ernst Tewes [de]
Date28 May 1977
Elevated byPope Saint Paul VI
Date27 June 1977
Episcopal succession
Bishops consecrated by Pope Benedict XVI as principal consecrator
Alberto Bovone12 May 1984
Zygmunt Zimowski25 May 2002
Josef Clemens6 January 2004
Bruno Forte8 September 2004
Mieczysław Mokrzycki29 September 2007
Francesco Giovanni Brugnaro29 September 2007
Gianfranco Ravasi29 September 2007
Tommaso Caputo29 September 2007
Sergio Pagano29 September 2007
Vincenzo Di Mauro29 September 2007
Gabriele Giordano Caccia12 September 2009
Franco Coppola12 September 2009
Pietro Parolin12 September 2009
Raffaello Martinelli12 September 2009
Giorgio Corbellini12 September 2009
Savio Hon Tai-Fai5 February 2011
Marcello Bartolucci5 February 2011
Celso Morga Iruzubieta5 February 2011
Antonio Guido Filipazzi5 February 2011
Edgar Peña Parra5 February 2011
Charles John Brown6 January 2012
Marek Solczyński6 January 2012
Angelo Vincenzo Zani6 January 2013
Fortunatus Nwachukwu6 January 2013
Georg Gänswein6 January 2013
Nicolas Henry Marie Denis Thevenin6 January 2013
Other popes named Benedict
Papal styles of
Pope Benedict XVI
Reference styleHis Holiness
Spoken styleYour Holiness
Religious stylePope Emeritus[10][11]

Ordained as a priest in 1951 in his native Bavaria, Ratzinger embarked on an academic career and established himself as a highly regarded theologian by the late 1950s. He was appointed a full professor in 1958 at the age of 31. After a long career as a professor of theology at several German universities, he was appointed Archbishop of Munich and Freising and created a cardinal by Pope Paul VI in 1977, an unusual promotion for someone with little pastoral experience. In 1981, he was appointed Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, one of the most important dicasteries of the Roman Curia. From 2002 until his election as pope, he was also Dean of the College of Cardinals. Prior to becoming pope, he was "a major figure on the Vatican stage for a quarter of a century"; he had an influence "second to none when it came to setting church priorities and directions" as one of John Paul II's closest confidants.[12] He has lived in Rome since 1981.

His prolific writings[13] generally defend traditional Catholic doctrine and values. He was originally a liberal theologian, but adopted conservative views after 1968.[14] During his papacy, Benedict XVI advocated a return to fundamental Christian values to counter the increased secularisation of many Western countries. He views relativism's denial of objective truth, and the denial of moral truths in particular, as the central problem of the 21st century. He taught the importance of both the Catholic Church and an understanding of God's redemptive love.[15] Benedict also revived a number of traditions, including elevating the Tridentine Mass to a more prominent position.[16] He strengthened the relationship between the Catholic Church and art, promoted the use of Latin,[17] and reintroduced traditional papal vestments, for which reason he was called "the pope of aesthetics".[18] He has been described as "the main intellectual force in the Church" since the mid-1980s.[19]

On 11 February 2013, Benedict unexpectedly announced his resignation in a speech in Latin before the cardinals, citing a "lack of strength of mind and body" due to his advanced age. His resignation became effective on 28 February 2013. He is the first pope to resign since Gregory XII in 1415, and the first to do so on his own initiative since Celestine V in 1294. As pope emeritus, Benedict retains the style of His Holiness and continues to dress in the papal colour of white. He was succeeded by Francis on 13 March 2013, and he moved into the newly renovated Mater Ecclesiae Monastery for his retirement on 2 May 2013. In his retirement, Benedict XVI has made occasional public appearances alongside Francis.

In addition to his native German, Benedict speaks French, Italian and English[20] fluently. He also has an excellent command of Latin[21] and speaks Spanish adequately. Furthermore, he has much knowledge of Portuguese. He can read Ancient Greek and Biblical Hebrew.[22][full citation needed] He has stated that his first foreign language is French. He is a member of several scientific academies, such as the French Académie des Sciences Morales et Politiques. He plays the piano and has a preference for Mozart and Bach.[23]

On 4 September 2020, Benedict XVI became the longest-lived person to have held the office of pope, at 93 years, 4 months, 16 days, surpassing Leo XIII, who died in 1903. Benedict is also the last survivor of the cardinals whom Pope Paul VI named during his papacy.[24]