Coronation Day of Pope Benedict XVI, which takes place on April 24 every year, commemorates when the former pope officially became the most influential Catholic figure in Catholicism. Forget Paolo Sorrentino’s fictional tale of a new and younger American pope and any other papal interpretation. When we commemorate a pope’s coronation, we pay tribute to the profound social transformations he brought about, the extraordinary religious fortitude he bestowed upon millions, and his legacy as a significant figure in history whose influence will endure long after his death.
History of Coronation Day of Pope Benedict XVI
Before he became the pope we know today as Benedict XVI, Joseph Alois Ratzinger was born on April 16, 1927, in Marktl am Inn, Germany. Before becoming Pope, Ratzinger was a distinguished theologian and prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. His papacy faced several challenges, including a decline in vocations and church attendance, divisive debates about the church’s direction, and the fallout from the church’s handling of numerous cases of sexual abuse by priests, which began in the late 1990s, and in 2013 he became the first pope to resign since Gregory XII in 1415.
Ratzinger published several important theological works during his long academic career, including “Introduction to Christianity” and “Dogma and Revelation,” drawing the attention of Archbishop Joseph Frings of Cologne. The latter asked Ratzinger to serve as his expert assistant at the Second Vatican Council from 1962 to 1965. Ratzinger, one of the council’s more progressive members, stood up to those who wished to limit reform. However, Ratzinger’s viewpoints shifted during his university years. While teaching at Tübingen, he witnessed student protests and denunciations of Christianity that reminded him of Nazi tactics and gradually led him to adopt a more conservative theological perspective.
On April 24, 2005, Joseph Alois Ratzinger attended the Papal Inauguration Mass in St. Peter’s Square, where he received the Pallium and the Ring of the Fisherman, regalia worn by the pope. He chose the pontifical name Benedict, derived from the Latin word for ‘blessed,’ to honor both Benedict XV and Saint Benedict of Nursia. Pope Benedict XV made unceasing efforts to end the hostilities between the belligerent states during World War I. “The Rule of Saint Benedict,” regarded as the most important book on the monastic life in Western Christianity, was written by St. Benedict of Nursia, the founder of the Benedictine monasteries. Every year, Pope Benedict XVI’s coronation day is observed to remember the moment he assumed the role of pope.
Coronation Day of Pope Benedict XVI timeline
Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger is born in Bavaria, in the Weimar Republic.
Ratzinger transfers to the University of Münster, where he becomes a theological consultant to Cardinal Frings of Cologne.
Ratzinger is appointed as Archbishop of Munich and Freising.
Ratzinger is elected as the 265th pope at the age of 78 and becomes Pope Benedict XVI.
The Vatican confirms Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation due to his advanced age.
Coronation Day of Pope Benedict XVI FAQs
What was special about Pope Benedict XVI?
Benedict XVI was elected the 265th pope at the age of 78. He is the oldest to have been elected pope since Pope Clement XII (1730 to 1740). He served longer as a cardinal before becoming Pope than any Pontiff since Benedict XIII (1724 to 1730).
Where is Pope Benedict living?
Benedict has been residing in a Vatican City monastery since shortly after his retirement. The former Joseph Ratzinger, who was elected to the papacy in 2005 to succeed St. John Paul II, was the first pontiff in 600 years to resign. Pope Francis succeeded him.
Which popes were married?
At least four Popes were legally married before receiving holy orders; St. Hormisdas (514 to 523), Adrian II (867 to 872), John XVII (1003), and Clement IV (1265 to 68) — though Hormisdas was already a widower at the time of his election.
How to Observe Coronation Day of Pope Benedict XVI
Read up on Pope Benedict XVI’s teachings
The pope’s required to address the world regularly, in terms of religion, society, love, and community, which means that there are many addresses and talks that you can go and find online to read and study. Before becoming the pope, he was an esteemed religious academic, respected by his peers, and regularly asked to speak at important national and global events.
Watch a documentary on the papal inauguration celebrations
You may have seen the coronation of some royalty, but things are a little different at the coronation of a pope. You can find some educational clips on YouTube or look up archival footage to see how these events were held and celebrated.
Learn more about Catholicism
Catholicism is one of the most common religions worldwide, with thousands of written and online resources for you to learn more about the faith and how they choose to live their lives. It is also fascinating to learn about religions different from your own, as many aspects can sometimes be similar yet somehow interpreted differently. Seek out these similarities and differences; you will undoubtedly be surprised.
5 Interesting Facts About Catholicism
It’s been around for 2,000 years
With a history of about 2,000 years, the Catholic Church is the oldest institution in the Western world.
The pope lives in the Vatican City
The pope does not reside in Italy; instead, he resides in Vatican City, a country within Italy.
Saints came from Jews
The Jewish people started the tradition of worshiping saints since they have a long history of building shrines to Prophets and other revered figures.
The “Big-Bang Theory”
Monsignor Georges Lemaitre, a Catholic priest, proposed the “Big-Bang Theory.”
The Catholic Church is very wealthy
The Catholic Church is the country's largest charitable organization.
Why Coronation Day of Pope Benedict XVI is Important
It honors tradition and religion
Many things in this world can help people get through the hard times in life. Everyone needs something to hold on to and navigate the trials and tribulations they might face, and religion and tradition are precisely that. Catholicism is 2,000 years old and has been a safe space for people of all ages for centuries as it guides and continues to teach them about life.
It pays homage to an influential figure
Unless we have days like Pope Benedict XVI's Coronation Day to commemorate an influential person who served the globe and an entire religion for a while and committed his life to the cause, historical personalities are easily forgotten. What he did, said, and wrote will always be remembered via regular celebrations of the Catholic religion.
It is about remembering past leaders
When we pay tribute to leaders and significant persons who helped transform society, it usually motivates us to do better. Young people, many of whom have not yet decided what road their lives should take, can be inspired by religious leaders to live a more honest and trustworthy life and serve the people. This frequently serves as their direction and motivation, which is why we believe that the Coronation Day of Pope Benedict XVI is significant.
Coronation Day of Pope Benedict XVI dates