Important dates of the pontificate of Benedict XVI

Main dates of the papacy of Benedict XVI (2005-2013), who died this Saturday at the age of 95.


April 19: German Cardinal Joseph Alois Ratzinger, 78, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, is elected pontiff to succeed John Paul II. He chooses the name of Benedict XVI.

May 13: Benedict XVI begins the beatification process for John Paul II, effective May 1, 2011.

August 18-21: Presides over the World Youth Days in Cologne (western Germany).


January 25: Publishes his first encyclical, "God is love"followed by "saved by hope"in November 2007, and "charity in truth"in July 2009.

May 25-28: Visit to the former Nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau, in Poland.

July 8-9: Travel to Valencia, Spain, for a Catholic congress on the family.

September 9-14: Trip to Bavaria. Speech in Regensburg that provokes a crisis with the Muslim world. On the 17th of that month he presents his apology.


April 13: Publication of the first volume of his work "Jesus of Nazareth"followed by two more in 2011 and 2012.

May 9-14: Trip to Brazil for the Latin American Bishops’ Conference.

July 7: Motu proprio (decree) that liberalizes the celebration of the mass in Latin.


April 15-21: Trip to Washington and New York, where he receives victims of pedophile priests. He will do the same in Australia in July 2008, in the Vatican in April 2009 and in Malta in April 2010.

July 12-21: Trip to Australia for the World Youth Days in Sydney.


January 24: He signs a decree that lifts the excommunication of four fundamentalist bishops, one of whom, the British Richard Williamson, publicly maintained Nazi Holocaust denialist positions.

March 17: On the plane that takes him to Africa, he declares that he could not "fix the problem of AIDS with the distribution of condoms" and that these, "on the contrary, they aggravated the problem". In 2010, however, he surprised by admitting the use of condoms "in some cases".

May 8 to 16: Celebrate delicate visit to the Holy Land with stops in Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Territories. Call for a Palestinian state and denounce antisemitism.

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March 12: He is accused of having welcomed a pedophile priest into his diocese when he was Archbishop of Munich (Germany). This is the first time that the scandal of pedophile priests splashes the highest authority of the Church.

March 20: Disseminate Pastoral Letter to the Irish church, shaken by pedophilia scandals. A kind of guide for all affected countries.

September 16-19: First state visit by a pope to the United Kingdom since the Anglican schism of 1534. Beatifies Cardinal Henry Newmann.


May 16: Directive on pedophilia, in which it calls for suspected priests to be brought to justice.

September 14: The Holy See proposes to the fundamentalists a reinstatement if they accept a "doctrinal preamble" containing the foundations of the Church, including those of the Second Vatican Council.


28th March: During a visit to Cuba, Benedict XVI asks to guarantee "fundamental liberties" and condemns the United States embargo on the island.

September 29th: Appearance of the former butler of the Pope, Paolo Gabriele, for "aggravated robbery" of confidential documents -the Vatileaks scandal-, in an unprecedented process in the Vatican. Gabriele will be sentenced to a year and a half in prison but pardoned on December 22 by the pontiff.

December 12: he launches his first tweets on twitter "urbi et orbi".


February 11th: Benedict XVI announces his resignation effective February 28, citing his advanced age and lack of strength in the face of the challenges of a world in full transformation.

February 13th: denounces the "religious hypocrisy" Y "divisions of the ecclesiastical body" in his last great mass.

February 22: According to the Italian press, an investigation entrusted to three cardinals after the Vatileaks scandal revealed the existence in the Curia of a "gay lobby"who would be the victim of blackmail.

February 25: The pope authorizes the next conclave of cardinals to meet before March 15.

February 27: Last public appearance of Benedict XVI in St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican.


December 31: Death at the age of 95.

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