52 Facts About Pope Benedict XVI

1. In 2007 Pope 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. At the time of his resignation, Pope Benedict XVI had completed a draft of a fourth encyclical entitled Lumen Fidei.

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

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

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5. 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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6. Pope 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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7. Pope Benedict XVI might himself have drunk a small beer at the most.

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8. Pope Benedict XVI recently overhauled the Vatican's media operations for the second time by ousting the longtime editor of the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, and naming a new director of editorial content for all Vatican media, Italian journalist Andrea Tornielli.

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

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10. Pope 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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11. Pope Benedict XVI is known to be deeply interested in classical music, and is an accomplished pianist.

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12. In 2009, the Pope Benedict XVI intervened in global economic and political affairs with his third encyclical, Charity in Truth, which can be viewed on the Vatican's web site.

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13. Pope 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, Pope 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, Pope 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. In 2015, it was reported that the Pope Benedict XVI was "praying for migrants and refugees" from Syria.

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

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18. Pope 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. The Pope Benedict XVI said that the church viewed the distinction as central to human nature, and "asks that this order of creation be respected".

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20. In 2005, the Pope Benedict XVI listed several ways to combat the spread of HIV, including chastity, fidelity in marriage and anti-poverty efforts; he rejected the use of condoms.

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21. Pope 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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22. Pope Benedict XVI continued to wear the white cassock but without the pellegrina or the fascia.

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23. Pope 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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24. Pope Benedict XVI declared that he would continue to serve the church "through a life dedicated to prayer".

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25. On 17 July 2009, Pope 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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26. On 6 September 2006, the Pope Benedict XVI began wearing the red cappello romano, a wide-brimmed hat for outdoor use.

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

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28. The Pope Benedict XVI met with the Maltese youth at the Valletta Waterfront, where an estimated 10,000 young people turned up to greet him.

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

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

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31. Pope 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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32. Pope 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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33. Pope Benedict XVI acknowledged the Lutheran church, saying that he has had friends in that denomination.

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

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35. At the time of his resignation, Pope 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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36. Pope 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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37. Pope 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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38. Pope Benedict XVI said "Absolutizing what is not absolute but relative is called totalitarianism.

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39. Pope 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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40. Pope Benedict XVI said that "a dictatorship of relativism" was the core challenge facing the church and humanity.

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

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

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43. Pope 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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44. Pope 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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45. Pope Benedict XVI attended the elementary school in Aschau am Inn, which was renamed in his honour in 2009.

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46. Pope 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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47. Pope 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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48. On 11 February 2013, Pope 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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49. Pope 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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50. Pope 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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51. Pope Benedict XVI was originally a liberal theologian, but adopted conservative views after 1968.

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52. 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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