1. Benedict XVI was born on Holy Saturday
Benedict XVI was born on Holy Saturday, April 16, 1927, in Marktl am Inn, Bavaria. According to CNA’s count, this year is his fourth Holy Saturday birthday; the last time his birthday fell on this day was in 1960. The pope emeritus has also had three birthdays occur on Good Friday: In 1954, 1965, and 1976. But he has had four Easter Sunday birthdays to make up for it.
2. Benedict XVI is the longest-living person to have been pope
On Sept. 4, 2020, Benedict XVI became the longest-living person to have been pope, when he surpassed Pope Leo XIII, who died at the age of 93 years and 140 days in 1903. Leo XIII still holds the title of oldest reigning pope, however, since Benedict XVI made history in another way when he resigned in 2013, becoming the first pope to do so in almost 600 years.
3. Benedict XVI wanted to be called ‘Father Benedict’ in retirement
In an interview with a German journalist in 2014, the pope emeritus revealed that he had wanted to go by the title “Father Benedict” after stepping down from the papacy, but he “was too weak at that point to enforce it.”
4. The pope emeritus prefers orange soda to German beer
Despite enjoying a German beer on his 90th birthday in 2017, those who know Benedict personally say he is a bigger fan of orange soda, commonly known by the Italian brand name Fanta.
5. Benedict XVI prays the rosary daily
After retiring as pope, Benedict XVI would pray a daily rosary while walking in the gardens surrounding his home, the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery. As walking became more difficult for him, he would receive a lift from a golf cart, and pray the rosary while resting on a bench in the Vatican Gardens. Benedict has also greeted people from the same orange-cushioned bench, which is located near a grotto replicating the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes in France.
Want to learn more about the life of Benedict XVI before he became a cardinal? Watch here: