When was Benedict XVI appointed Pope, who succeeded him, and why did he resign?
Everything about how and when Benedict XVI was appointed Pope, who came before him, who followed, and the reason why the former pope resigned
Born Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger, Benedict XVI served as the head of the Church and the sovereign of the Vatican City State from 2005 until 2013. Benedict’s election as pope occurred in the 2005 papal conclave following the death of Pope John Paul II. Upon his resignation, he chose to be known by the title “pope emeritus”.
The former pope who was born in the city of Marktl, in Bavaria, southern Germany, established himself as a highly regarded theologian by the late 1950s and was ordained as a priest in 1951. He had a long career as a theology professor at several German universities. He was also appointed Archbishop of Munich and Freising and created a cardinal by Pope Paul VI in 1977, which was not a usual promotion for someone with little pastoral experience. He was also Dean of the College of Cardinals from 2002 until his election as pope. Prior to his election, he was “a major figure on the Vatican stage for a quarter of a century” having had an influence “second to none when it came to setting church priorities and directions” as one of John Paul II’s closest confidants.
After being elected pope, he chose the name Benedict XVI as “a link to the venerated Pontiff, Benedict XV, who guided the Church through the turbulent times of the First World War.” More on that here.
Why did Benedict XVI resign?
The resignation of Pope Benedict XVI took effect February 28 2013, following his announcement of it on February 11, making him the first pope to voluntarily resign since Celestine V in 1294 and the first to relinquish the office since Gregory XII was forced to resign in 1415.
Benedict cited that declining mental and physical frailty no longer allowed him to fully serve the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics.
It’s important to note also that the former pope was the subject of many controversies over the years, including child abuse. His resignation ignited even more discussion as the world was so unprepared to have two popes alive at the same time they even made a Hollywood movie recounting the story.
On Wednesday, the Vatican announced that the 95-year-old’s health has worsened over the past hours.