Pope Benedict XVI’s Papacy in Photos

Pope Benedict XVI, who began his papacy in April 2005, has resigned and is now known as emeritus pope. Take a look back at his life in pictures.

31 photos
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AFP/Getty Images
Pope Benedict XVI, now known as the emeritus pope, waves to a faithful crowd from a balcony upon arrival in Castel Gandolfo on his last day of papacy. He is the first pope since 1415 to abdicate the papal throne. Click to see more pictures from his lifetime.
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AP
Pope Francis, right, greets Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI at the end of a meeting with elderly faithful in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Sept. 28, 2014.
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AP
In this Nov. 30, 2004 file photo, Pope John Paul II gives his blessing to Father Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legion of Christ, during a special audience at the Vatican. Pope Benedict XVI took over the Legion in 2010, after a Vatican investigation determined that Maciel had sexually molested seminarians and fathered three children by two women. Following a decision Thursday Feb. 14, 2013, by the Rhode Island Supreme Court, documents have been unsealed related to a lawsuit contesting the will of Gabrielle Mee, who left $60 million to the Legion.
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AP
In this photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Francis is flanked by Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Mons. Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, during the unveiling of a bronze bust of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, at the Vatican, Monday, Oct. 27, 2014. Pope Francis has heaped praise on retired Pope Benedict XVI, hailing his person and papacy amid continuing fallout from a meeting of bishops that exposed divisions between progressive Catholics backing Francis' call for a more merciful church and conservatives nostalgic for Benedict's emphasis on doctrine. Francis unveiled a bronze bust of Benedict on Monday in the Vatican's Pontifical Academy of Sciences.
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ASSOCIATED PRESS
Pope Francis, right, embraces his predecessor Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, during a ceremony in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Sunday, April 27, 2014. Pope Francis has declared his two predecessors John XXIII and John Paul II saints in an unprecedented canonization ceremony made even more historic by the presence of retired Pope Benedict XVI.
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ASSOCIATED PRESS
Newly-elected Cardinal Pietro Parolin, right, is greeted by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI after he received the red three-cornered biretta hat by Pope Francis during a consistory inside the St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014. Pope Francis is putting a personal imprint on the group of men who will choose his successor, tapping like-minded cardinals from some of the world's smallest, most remote and poverty-wracked nations to help him run the Catholic Church.
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Getty Images
Pope Benedict XVI spoke to his cardinals during a farewell ceremony in the Clementine Hall of the Vatican's Apostolic Palace on his last day.
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AP
During a February 11 meeting of the Vatican cardinals, Pope Benedict XVI read a document announcing his resignation. The decision set the stage for a conclave to elect a new pope before the end of March.
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Pope Benedict XVI was elected on April 19, 2005. Here, he greets the crowd from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica moments after being elected at the Vatican.
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AP
Pope Benedict XVI entered the digital age by joining Twitter earlier this year. With less than 140 character, his first tweet blessed the world reading: "Dear friends, I am pleased to get in touch with you through Twitter. Thank you for your generous response. I bless all of you from my heart."
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ASSOCIATED PRESS
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama met with Pope Benedict XVI in mid July 2009. President Obama sat down with the pontiff at the Vatican for a meeting of frank but constructive talks between two men who agree on helping the poor but disagree on abortion and stem cell research.
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ASSOCIATED PRESS
Pope Benedict XVI is pictured here visiting the Rome Gemelli hospital in January 2011. Pope Benedict arrived with stuffed animals, books and candy to mark the Epiphany, when Catholics believe the three kings brought gifts to the newborn Jesus.
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AP
President Bush met with Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican in 2008, presenting the Pope with a framed photograph from their meeting at the White House. The pontiff gave President Bush a rare peek at the Vatican Gardens, a spot where popes pray privately and only special guests are allowed to stroll.
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ASSOCIATED PRESS
The pontiff sent greetings to China before the 2008 Olympics. Announcing his intention to follow the Games, he hoped Beijing would offer "a pledge of brotherhood and peace among people." Throughout his papacy, Benedict made the improvement of relations with Beijing a priority
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Getty Images
Pope Benedict XVI lights one of the world's largest electronic Christmas trees in the central Italian town of Gubbio without leaving Vatican City using a tablet device in 2011.
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Getty Images
In March 2012, Pope Benedict XVI and Cuban President Raul Castro met at Havana's Consejos de Estado. Fourteen years after Pope John Paul II visited Cuba, Pope Benedict made his first trip to the communist country.
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Getty Images
Pope Benedict XVI held Mass at the Revolution Square in Havana, Cuba on the last day of his visit to the island.
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Getty Images
Pope Benedict XVI met with former Cuban President Fidel Castro at Havana, Cuba's Vatican embassy in March 2012.
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ASSOCIATED PRESS
Pope Benedict XVI greeted crowds upon arriving at Krakow's Blonia park for a meeting with the youth in 2006. Pope Benedict XVI was in Poland on a four-day visit that took him to Warsaw, Krakow, Czestochow, and Wadowice--Pope John Paul II's birth town.
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Getty Images
Pope Benedict XVI met with the German President Joachim Gauck during a private audience in the library of the Apostolic Palace in Vatican City, Vatican.
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Getty Images
President Mahmoud Abbas met with Pope Benedict XVI in the Vatican in December 2012 in Rome. Abbas was quoted saying he was "very worried" by the killing of Palestinians in the Yarmouk refugee camp near Damascus, Syria.
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AP
U.S. actor Jon Voight is received by Pope Benedict XVI in the Paul VI hall at the Vatican in 2005, at the end of the presentation of the movie "Pope John Paul II" on the life of the late pontiff. Jon Voight played the role of Pope John Paul II.
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AP
Pope Benedict XVI kisses a child during his visit to Angola, in March 2009. Pope Benedict XVI appealed to the Catholics of Angola on Saturday to reach out to and convert believers.
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AFP/Getty Images
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger prays next to Mother Teresa at the 85th German Catholics Days in Freiburg between 13 and 17 September 1978.
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Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger speaks with Andreas Stadtler, Captain of the Mountain Riflemen's Company. Ratzinger took his official leave of The Archbishopric Munich And Freising, during a ceremony in 1982.
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Getty Images
Theology professor Joseph Ratzinger is shown here at the Higher School of Philosphy and Theology in Freising in his private quarters in 1959. Ratzinger went on to teach at the University of Bonn from 1959- 1963.
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Getty Images
Joseph Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI on April 19, 2005. Here, Ratzinger is pictured with his family in 1938. He is pictured here with father Josef, sister Maria, mother Maria and brothers Georg and Joseph.
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Getty Images
Joseph Ratzinger celebrates Mass at a mountain site near the Bavarian town of Ruhpolding, Germany in the summer of 1952.
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Getty Images
Joseph Ratzinger received his doctorate in theology from the University of Munich in 1953 with a thesis entitled "People and House of God in St Augustine's Doctrine of the Church." Ratzinger is pictured here giving a theology lecture in Freising during the summer semester in 1955.
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Joseph Ratzinger was ordained into priesthood by the Cardinal Faulhaber of Munich. Here he is shown with his family on the day of his two brothers' ordination.
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Joseph Ratzinger is seen here in 1943 in uniform as a German Air Force assistant during World War II.
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