61 Facts About Benedict XVI

1. In 2007 Benedict XVI approved the decisions of the International Theological Commission, an advisory panel to the Vatican, that the traditional teaching of limbo was "unduly restrictive" and that unbaptized infants could be saved.

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2. Benedict XVI is fluent in German, English, Italian, French and Spanish, whilst possessing knowledge of Portuguese and the ability to speak classical Latin.

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3. At the time of his resignation, Benedict XVI had completed a draft of a fourth encyclical entitled Lumen Fidei.

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4. Pope Benedict XVI was the oldest person to be elected pope since 1730.

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5. Benedict XVI was elected Pope on 19 April 2005, becoming the 265th pope.

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6. Pope Benedict XVI is one of the most important figures of the 20th and early 21st centuries.

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7. Pope Benedict XVI was born Joseph Ratzinger on April 16, 1927, in Marktl am Inn, Bavaria, Germany, the youngest of three children.

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8. Benedict XVI stayed there while renovations were made to a convent, Mater Ecclesiae, in the southwest corner of Vatican City, which became his residence.

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9. Benedict XVI served his final day as pope on February 28, 2013.

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10. Pope Benedict XVI has written 66 books, three encyclicals, and three apostolic exhortations.

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11. Benedict XVI recorded an album of contemporary classical music in which he sings and recites prayers to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

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12. Benedict XVI is known to be deeply interested in classical music, and is an accomplished pianist.

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13. Benedict XVI said Turkey had always been "in permanent contrast to Europe and that linking it to Europe would be a mistake".

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14. On 13 November 2006, Benedict XVI said that the dispute over the North Korea nuclear weapons program should be resolved through negotiations, in his first public comment on the security issue, a news report said.

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15. In 2007, Benedict XVI sent a letter at Easter to Catholics in China that could have wide-ranging implications for the church's relationship with China's leadership.

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16. Benedict XVI called on Catholic communities and organizations to offer them concrete help.

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17. Pope Benedict XVI promoted various UN events, such as World Refugee Day, on which he offered up special prayers for refugees and called for the international community to do more to secure refugees' human rights.

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18. Benedict XVI attacked gender theories which he described as "man's attempt at self-emancipation from creation and the Creator.

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19. Pope Benedict XVI chose to remove the title at a time when discussions with the Orthodox churches have centered on the issue of papal primacy.

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20. In July 2017, Benedict XVI sent a message through his private secretary Monsignor Ganswein for the occasion of the funeral of Cardinal Joachim Meisner, who had suddenly passed away while on vacation in Germany.

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21. Benedict XVI attended the consistory for new cardinals in February 2015, greeting Pope Francis at the beginning of the celebration.

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22. Benedict XVI wrote the text of a speech, delivered by Archbishop Georg Ganswein, on the occasion of the dedication of the Aula Magna at the Pontifical Urbaniana University to the Pope Emeritus, "a gesture of gratitude for what he has done for the Church as a conciliar expert, with his teaching as professor, as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and, finally, the Magisterium.

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23. Benedict XVI made his first public appearance after his resignation at St Peter's Basilica on 22 February 2014 to attend the first papal consistory of his successor Pope Francis.

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24. Benedict XVI continued to wear the white cassock but without the pellegrina or the fascia.

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25. Benedict XVI stayed there until refurbishment was completed on his retirement home, the Mater Ecclesiae monastery in the Vatican Gardens near St Peter's, formerly home to 12 nuns, where he moved on 2 May 2013.

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26. Benedict XVI was the first pope to resign without external pressure since Celestine V in 1294.

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27. Benedict XVI declared that he would continue to serve the church "through a life dedicated to prayer".

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28. On 17 July 2009, Benedict XVI was hospitalized after falling and breaking his right wrist while on vacation in the Alps; his injuries were reported to be minor.

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29. Early in his pontificate Benedict XVI predicted a short reign, which led to concerns about his health.

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30. Pope Benedict XVI re-introduced several papal garments which had fallen into disuse.

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31. In June 2007, Benedict XVI made a personal pilgrimage and pastoral visit to Assisi, the birthplace of St Francis.

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32. Benedict XVI travelled extensively during the first three years of his papacy.

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33. Benedict XVI planned on 5 March 2008, to meet with Muslim scholars and religious leaders autumn 2008 at a Catholic-Muslim seminar in Rome.

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34. Benedict XVI had served there as a professor of theology before becoming Pope, and his lecture was entitled "Faith, Reason and the University—Memories and Reflections".

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35. Benedict XVI acknowledged the Lutheran church, saying that he has had friends in that denomination.

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36. Benedict XVI pointed out that use of Tridentine Mass "was never juridically abrogated and, consequently, in principle, was always permitted.

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37. On 7 July 2007, Benedict XVI issued the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, declaring that upon "the request of the faithful", celebration of Mass according to the Missal of 1962, was to be more easily permitted.

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38. At the time of his resignation, Benedict XVI had completed a draft of a fourth encyclical entitled Lumen fidei, intended to accompany his first two encyclicals to complete a trilogy on the three theological virtues of faith, hope, and love.

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39. Benedict XVI condemned the prevalent economic system "where the pernicious effects of sin are evident", and called on people to rediscover ethics in business and economic relations.

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40. Benedict XVI emphasised that "Only creative reason, which in the crucified God is manifested as love, can really show us the way.

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41. Benedict XVI said "Absolutizing what is not absolute but relative is called totalitarianism.

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42. Benedict XVI said that this self-amputation of reason leads to pathologies of religion such as terrorism and pathologies of science such as ecological disasters.

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43. Benedict XVI said that "a dictatorship of relativism" was the core challenge facing the church and humanity.

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44. Benedict XVI took up this theme in his first encyclical Deus caritas est.

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45. Benedict XVI stressed that on this intimate friendship, "everything depends.

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46. On 16 January 2013, Pope Benedict XVI transferred responsibility for catechesis from the Congregation for the Clergy to the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization.

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47. Pope Benedict XVI made only modest changes to the structure of the Roman Curia.

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48. Pope Benedict XVI continued the tradition of his predecessor John Paul II and baptised several infants in the Sistine Chapel at the beginning of each year, in his pastoral role as Bishop of Rome.

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49. Benedict XVI was elected the 265th pope at the age of 78.

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50. Benedict XVI was promoted within the College of Cardinals to become Cardinal Bishop of Velletri-Segni in 1993 and was made the college's vice-dean in 1998 and dean in 2002.

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51. Benedict XVI served as Vice President of the University of Regensburg from 1976 to 1977.

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52. Benedict XVI was viewed during the time of the Council as a reformer, cooperating with theologians like Hans Kung and Edward Schillebeeckx.

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53. Benedict XVI attended the elementary school in Aschau am Inn, which was renamed in his honour in 2009.

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54. Benedict XVI was succeeded by Pope Francis on 13 March 2013, and he moved into the newly renovated monastery Mater Ecclesiae for his retirement on 2 May 2013.

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55. Benedict XVI 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.

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56. On 11 February 2013, Benedict XVI 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.

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57. Benedict XVI strengthened the relationship between the Catholic Church and art, promoted the use of Latin, and reintroduced traditional papal garments, for which reason he was called "the pope of aesthetics".

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58. Pope Benedict XVI revived a number of traditions, including elevating the Tridentine Mass to a more prominent position.

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59. Benedict XVI views relativism's denial of objective truth, and the denial of moral truths in particular, as the central problem of the 21st century.

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60. Benedict XVI was originally a liberal theologian, but adopted conservative views after 1968.

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61. Pope Benedict XVI was head of the Catholic Church and as sovereign of the Vatican City State from 2005 until his resignation in 2013.

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