BENEDICT XVI BECOMES OLDEST POPE IN HISTORY
At the age of 93 and nearly five months, Benedict XVI officially became the oldest Pope in history on Friday, even if the record is complicated by the fact that he stepped down in 2013 and held the status of “Pope Emeritus.”
Benedict was the first Pope to retire in 700 years — citing his diminishing strength — after eight years in office.
He was succeeded by Argentinian Jorge Bergoglio, ten years his junior and who adopted the name Francis.
According to the calculations of the Italian episcopal journal, Avvenire, and the magazine Famiglia Cristiana, born on April 16, 1927, Benedict–whose civilian name is
Josef Ratzinger — officially broke the previous longevity record held by Italian Leo XIII, who died in 1903 at the age of 93 years, four months and three days.
“34,111 days in the service of God, the world and the ecclesiastical community,” wrote Famiglia Cristiana, referring to Benedict.
Aside from Benedict’s retired status, Vatican experts say the record could also be disputed because, going back 1,400 years, the ages of previous Popes may not always be completely accurate.
The previous record-holder, Leo XIII, is known for having written the first encyclical on social problems.