Pope moves up in the ranks of oldest pontiffs

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Monday 26, July 2010 | Category:  

Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI

This past April, Pope Benedict XVI became the seventh-oldest pope since reliable records began being collected in the year 1400. Benedict XVI, now 83, moved just behind John Paul II who died at 84 years of age. Anura Guruge, an IBM information systems expert, posted a table that ranked the oldest known popes on his website www.popes-and-papacy.com.

Guruge did not consider popes who were in office before 1400 as those records “are either unreliable or unavailable and as such are impractical for meaningful analysis.”

Should Benedict XVI remain pope until 2015, he will move into second place behind Clement XII who was 87 at the time of his death. The oldest modern pope, Leo XIII, lived to be 93.

Benedict XVI was elected pope April 15, 2005 three days after his 78th birthday. He was the fifth oldest pope ever to be elected and the oldest in the past 274 years.

During a 2008 homily, Benedict reflected on a passage from the Book of Wisdom on age: “The world reputes that he who lives a long life is fortunate, but God, more than at age, looks at the rectitude of the heart. God,” he said, “is the true wisdom that does not age, he is the genuine richness that does not spoil, he is the happiness to which the heart of every [person] aspires profoundly.”

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