Facts about Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI

What does ‘pope emeritus’ mean?Papal benedict coat of arms

‘Emeritus’ is an honorary title given to someone who previously held a particular office. Since Benedict officially resigned as pope on the 28th February 2013, his title is now pope emeritus.

pope-benedict-xviWhen was he elected pope?

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, as he was named before becoming pope, was ordained a priest in 1951. He was elected pope in April 2005 after the death of Pope John Paul II.  He chose Benedict as his name in honour of Pope Benedict XV, the 258th pope (1914-1922), who fought bravely for peace during the Great War of 1914 to 1917 that ripped through Europe. Benedict XVI called him ‘the prophet of peace’. Because there have been fifteen popes called Benedict already, the retronym XVI is used to distinguish him from the previous ones.

What is he like as a person?

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is a quiet, humble, deeply prayerful and very clever man.  He was the 265th pope since the time of Jesus (St Peter was the first).


Where was he born?

Born in Bavaria, Germany on April 16th, 1927, he was named Joseph by his parents. He lived through the very dark and difficult times of Nazi Germany and the Second World War.

Where does he live now and what is he doing?

Benedict XVI now lives in a part of the Vatican called Mater Ecclesiae Monastery, which is in the Vatican Gardens. He has devoted himself to praying for the Church, and to writing and studying.



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