Benedict was born in the city of Marktl, in Bavaria, southern Germany.
How many trips did Benedict make?
During his pontificate, Benedict visited 24 countries on six continents. Antarctica was the only continent he didn’t travel to as pope.
Did Benedict have siblings?
Yes, Benedict was the youngest of three siblings. His siblings were Georg and Maria Ratzinger, both of whom have died. Georg, who died on July 1, 2020, was a priest.
Why did he take the name, Benedict XVI?
After being elected pope, he chose the name Benedict XVI inspired by the memory of St. Benedict of Nursia, the man who founded the Benedictine order and who is considered the patron saint of the West, and also as “a link to the venerated Pontiff, Benedict XV, who guided the Church through the turbulent times of the First World War.”
Is it true that Benedict was part of the Nazi army?
Although his family did not support the Nazis, at age 16, Joseph Ratzinger was forcibly recruited into the German army during World War II. He never saw combat, and in 1945 he deserted and was taken as a prisoner of war by U.S. troops.
Is it true that Benedict loves cats?
Yes, Benedict loves cats and had two as pets when he was pope. One of them was a stray cat that he found in Rome.
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In an interview with the Spanish newspaper ABC in 2005, Cardinal Tarsicio Bertone, who a year later would become the Vatican’s secretary of state, said that Benedict was an “inveterate cat-lover.”
“On his walk from Borgo Pío to the Vatican, he stopped to talk with the cats; don’t ask me in what language he spoke to them, but the cats were delighted. When the cardinal approached, the cats raised their heads and greeted him,” the cardinal said.
Is it true that Benedict likes beer?
Yes. In fact, Weideneder Brau Vertriebs GmbH, a family-owned brewery in the town of Tann, Germany, created a special beer called Pabstbier (Pope’s Beer). The label read: “Dedicated to the Great Son of our Country, Pope Benedict XVI.”
How many languages does Benedict speak?
The pope emeritus is fluent in nine languages: German, Italian, French, English, Spanish, Portuguese, Latin, Ancient Greek, and Biblical Hebrew.