What Is the Timeline of Events Surrounding Pope Benedict XVI?


Quick Answer

Pope Benedict XVI was born Joseph Ratzinger in 1927 and grew up in Nazi Germany. After rising through the ranks of Catholic hierarchy, he became the Pope in 2005 and resigned in 2013.

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As a youth, Ratzinger was drafted by the Nazi army in the 1940s. However, he deserted in 1944 to avoid entering active combat. Following World War II, he began studying theology and officially became a priest in 1951. He continued to teach theology in German schools during the 1950s and 1960s. In 1977, Pope Paul VI named Ratzinger as Archbishop of Munich; he was elevated to the rank of cardinal shortly after.

Pope John Paul II assigned Ratzinger to a team of cardinals that developed the new catechism of the Catholic Church, which they completed in 1992. Ratzinger became Dean of the College of Cardinals in 2002. He was elected to the Catholic Church's highest office in 2005, becoming the oldest pope in over two centuries and the first German pope in a millennium. He adopted the title of Pope Benedict XVI upon his election.

During his papacy, Benedict visited several countries, including Turkey, the United States, Australia and Spain. Under his watch, the Vatican expanded its online presence; the Pope launched a YouTube channel in 2009 and a Twitter account in 2012. In 2012, Benedict's butler was sentenced to prison for leaking confidential Vatican documents, although the Pope pardoned him later. Citing old age, Benedict resigned in 2013 and moved to a Vatican monastery.

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