Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

The road to the Papal Office was a long one for Pope Benedict XVI. At the age of 78, Pope Benedict was the oldest Cardinal to be elected Pope since Pope Clement XII in 1730. The Pope originally planned on retiring with his brother Georg in his homeland of Germany, however the Lord obviously had other plans for him!

Timeline of the life of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI:

  • April 16, 1927: Pope Benedict XVI was born as Joseph Alois Ratzinger in Marktl am Inn, Germany. His father, Joseph was a policeman and his mother, Maria was the daughter of artisans from Rimsting. Josef was born and baptized on Holy Saturday.
  • 1943: At 16 years of age, while in seminary school, he was drafted into the German anti-aircraft corps. 
  • 1945: Ratzinger deserted the German army after his unit fell apart and tried returning to his family in Traunstein. However, American troops had established their headquarters in the Ratzinger household and Joseph, being viewed as a German soldier, was taken as a prisoner of war for a few months until the war ended that summer. 
  • 1946: That following November both Joseph and his brother Georg re-entered the seminary at the Higher School of Philosophy and Theology of Freising and later studied philosphy and theology at the University of Munich.
  • 1951: Joseph Ratzinger received his priestly ordination on June 29 along with his brother.
  • 1953: Received his doctorate of theology.
  • 1958: Fr. Ratzinger became a professor at Freising College.
  • 1959: Ratzinger taught at the University of Bonn.
  • 1963: He moved to the University of Munster and was established as an accredited theologian.
  • 1962-1965: Ratzinger participated in the Second Vatican Council as a theological consultant to Cardinal Frings of Cologne. 
  • 1966: He was appointed to a chair in dogmatic theology at the University of Tubingen.
  • 1969: Ratzinger founded a theological journal entitled Communio along with several other fundamental theologians such as Hans Urs von Balthasar and Henri de Lubac.
  • 1977: He was appointed Archbishop of Munich and Freising on March 24. On June 27 of the same year Pope Paul VI named him Cardinal Priest of Santa Maria Consolatrice al Tiburtino.
  • 1978: Took part in the Conclave which elected John Paul I and then again later that year to elect Pope John Paul II.
  • 1981: Pope John Paul II awarded him as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, or the Holy Office.
  • 1992: After six years of work as President of the Preparatory Commission for the Catechism of the Catholic Church he presented the new Catechism to Pope John Paul II.
  • 1993: He was promoted within the College of Cardinals to Cardinal Bishop of Velletri-Segni.
  • 1998: Promoted to Vice Dean of the College of Cardinals
  • 2000: Cardinal Ratzinger was awarded an Honorary Academic of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.
  • 2002: Was made Dean of the College of Cardinals.
  • 2005: On April 8 Cardinal Ratzinger presided over the funeral mass for Pope John Paul II, the largest Requiem Mass in history. There were over 400,000 people in St. Peter’s Square and millions watching via televisions.
  • 2005: On April 19 he was elected as the successor to Pope John Paul II as the head of the Holy Roman Catholic Church. And on April 24 Pope Benedict XVI celebrated his inauguration as Pope in St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City.
  • 2013: On February 11th, 2013 Pope Benedict XVI announced that he will be resigning from the papacy on the 28th of February, 2013

Fun Facts About Pope Benedict XVI:


  • Pope Benedict XVI is the 265th Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church
  • Joseph Ratzinger was born on Holy Saturday and baptized the same day, April 16, 1927.
  • He is the 8th German Pope in history.
  • The Pope fluently speaks German, Italian, English, French, Spanish, Dutch and Latin, as well as an understanding of Portuguese.
  • Pope Benedict XVI plays the piano and enjoys the works of Mozart and Bach.
  • He can read ancient Greek and biblical Hebrew.
  • Pope Benedict has a 16” doll created after him. Only 999 dolls have been produced and each one sells for €139.
  • As a young man he was a POW during WWII.
  • Pope Benedict XVI enjoys wearing his red leather shoes, made by his personal cobbler.
  • Pope Benedict XVI is the first German Pope in 482 years.
  • He is the son of a policeman.
  • The Pope has his pilots license and likes to fly the Papal helicopter. However, he never got his driver’s license.
  • The Pope loves animals and has a special affinity for cats. He has two cats of his own, one of which he found on the streets of Rome.
  • Pope Benedict XVI has written more than 135 theological works.

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