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Pope Benedict XVI: 6 things you may not have known about him



Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI died on Saturday, the Vatican spokesman, Matteo Bruni, disclosed in a statement.

Pope Benedict was 95 years old. He had encountered a sudden decline in his health due to age.


Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was born Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger in Marktl, Southeastern Germany, near the border with Austria, on April 16, 1927. His early years in life were defined both by World War II and by his faith.

Served in the German army

While still in the seminary in 1943, he was drafted into the German army. Ratzinger served two years as part of an anti-aircraft unit. He later deserted — and was taken prisoner by the US military.

Priestly ordination

Ratzinger was ordained in Freising on June 29 1951, by Cardinal Michael von Faulhaber of Munich.


Benedict XVI was elected the 265th pope at the age of 78. He was the oldest person to have been elected pope since Pope Clement XII (1730–1740).

Choice of name
Ratzinger chose “Benedict” as his pontifical name, which comes from the Latin word meaning “the blessed”, in honour of both Benedict XV and Benedict of Nursia.


Pope Benedict announced his resignation as the Roman Catholic Church leader on February 28, 2013, as a result of his advanced age, becoming the first pope to resign since Gregory XII in 1415.

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