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Facts about the papacy

Here are some interesting facts on past popes including Pope Benedict XVI.

According to the Catholic tradition, St. Peter was the first pope.

Peter served as pope for 34 years making him the longest reigning pope.

The youngest pope was elected in 955, Pope John Xii, he was 18.

The oldest popes elected were Celestine V (elected in 1294) and Pope Celestine III (elected in 1191) both were nearly 85.

The longest conclave lasted 33 months! In 1268, before Pope Gregory X was elected residents from Viterbo, north of Rome, tore the roof off the building where to cardinals were staying and only feed them bread and water in hopes make them chose a Pope quickly.

A decree was issued in 1274 which reduced the cardinal's meals to one meal a day, to avoid a repeat of 1268's election.

According to Vatican historian Ambrogio Piazzoni, Julius II was elected in hours in 1503.

Pope Pius XII was worried about possibly being taken as a prisoner during WWII, so he left a document informing the Cardinals to hold a conclave and elect a new pope.

Pope Urban VI (1378) was the last pope elected that wasn't a cardinal. He was a monk and archbishop of Bari.

There was once a pope named Hilarious.

Pope Stephen II reigned for 2 days, (March 23 – March 25, 752) making him the shortest reigning pope.

A man named Fabien, not even a candidate, was acclaimed as pope after a dove, the symbol of the Holy Spirit, landed on his shoulder.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, and Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley, Archbishop of Boston both have a chance to be the first American Pope.

Facts on Benedict XVI

Benedict holds a helicopter pilot license, and enjoys flying the papal helicopter. According to the Catholic Company he never learned to drive an automobile.

At age 16 he was drafted in to the German army. At age 18, in May 1945 he was briefly a U.S. prisoner of War. In June 1945 he was released and reunited with his parents.

It has been reported that he still has stuffed animals that were given to him as a child from his mother.

Some of Benedict's favorite snacks are: Fanta orange drink, Bavarian chocolates and Bavarian cookies.

His favorite meal is Bavarian potato ravioli with pancake strips.

Benedict plays the piano and has a preference for Mozart and Beethoven.

Benedict is the first pope to own an iPod.

Benedict became the first pope to resign from the Roman Catholic Church in 598 years.

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