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Pope Benedict XVI’s Papacy, 2005-2013

A timeline recapping highlights of his papacy.


| Posted 2/11/13 at 8:12 PM

World Meeting of Families 2012/CNA


Feb. 28: Date of resignation.

Feb. 11: Announced resignation.

Fourth encyclical, on faith, was expected to be published this year.



Dec. 12: Twitter debut @Pontifex.

Nov. 24: Consistory created Milwaukee native Archbishop James Harvey a cardinal and five other non-European cardinals.

Nov. 20: Releases third volume of Jesus of Nazareth.

Oct. 28 Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization held.

Oct. 21: Canonizes Americans Sts. Kateri Tekakwitha and Marianne Cope.

Oct. 11: Year of Faith begins; 20th anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church; 50th anniversary of start of Vatican II.

Oct. 7: Declares two new doctors of the Church: St. Hildegard of Bingen and St. John of Avila.

September: Visited Lebanon; released post-synodal apostolic exhortation Ecclesia in Medio Oriente on the “Church in the Middle East: Communion and Witness.”

Feb. 18: Appointed 22 new cardinals at fourth ordinary public consistory of his pontificate in St. Peter’s Basilica.

Jan. 1: Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter was officially erected in U.S. for former Anglicans.



Nov. 27: New Mass translation goes into effect in U.S.

November: Trip to Africa; Released post-synodal apostolic exhortation Africae Munus on the “Church in Africa in Service to Reconciliation, Justice and Peace.”

Oct. 27: Hosted a third World Day of Prayer for Peace in Assisi, Italy, marking the 25th anniversary since John Paul II held the first gathering there.

Oct. 16: Started using wheeled platform at events.

Sept. 22-25: Trip to Germany.

Aug. 18-21: Madrid World Youth Day.

June: Trip to Croatia.

May 16: Vatican letter released on dealing with sexual abuse.

May 1: Beatified John Paul II, saying, “Blessed are you, John Paul, because you believed.”

Lent: Published Vol. 2 of Jesus of Nazareth.



November: Spain trip; one highlight was traveling to Santiago de Compostela as a pilgrim to venerate the remains of St. James the Greater.

October: Synod of Bishops on the Middle East; Oct. 12: Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization created.

September: Trip to Great Britain; publishes Verbum Domini, a post-synodal apostolic exhortation on the “Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church.”

July 15: Abuse norms revised; the revised rules, signed by the Holy Father May 21 and published in July, sent a clear signal that the Church is “very, very serious” about protecting children and punishing abusive priests.

June: Presides at first vespers in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls for the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles, officially marking the closure of the Year of St. Paul. Trip to Cyprus.

May: Trip to Portugal; established Courtyard of the Gentiles to reach out to agnostics and atheists.

April: Trip to Malta; celebrated fifth anniversary as Pope.

Year of Priests was celebrated in 2010.



Nov. 4: Issues apostolic constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus authorizing the creation of ordinariates, which are similar to dioceses, for former Anglicans. It allows groups of Anglicans to come into the Catholic Church while retaining elements of the Anglican heritage and liturgical tradition.

November: Full diplomatic relations with Russia established.

October: Synod of Bishops on Africa is held.

September: Visits the Czech Republic.

June 29: Releases Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth) encyclical.

May: Makes a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

March: Announces the Year for Priests (June 19, 2009-June 11, 2010); makes an apostolic trip to Cameroon and Angola.

Jan. 23: Launches Vatican YouTube channel.

January: Lifts the excommunication of four Society of St. Pius X bishops ordained against papal orders in 1988 by the late French Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.



September: Visited the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes, France, to celebrate its 150th anniversary.

July: Celebrated World Youth Day in Sydney.

April: Visited the U.S., traveling to Washington and New York, meeting with victims of clerical abuse and visiting Ground Zero.



Nov. 30: Releases Spe Salvi (Saved in Hope) encyclical.

July 7, 2007: Releases Summorum Pontificum on the use of the Roman Liturgy according to the Missal of 1962, specifying that Masses celebrated in Latin according to this “extraordinary form” are part of the recognized liturgical practice of the Church.

April: Published Vol. 1 of Jesus of Nazareth.

March 13: Released post-synodal apostolic exhortation on the Eucharist, Sacramentum Caritatis (The Sacrament of Charity).

Celebrated Year of St. Paul.



Nov. 28-Dec. 1: Traveled to Turkey.

Sept. 9-14: Traveled to Germany; address at the University of Regensburg, where he quoted a Byzantine scholar who linked Islam with violence. Many Muslim leaders were offended and outraged.

July: Traveled to the Fifth World Meeting of Families in Spain.

May: Traveled to Poland.

February: Named 15 new cardinals.



Dec. 25: Releases encyclical Deus Caritas Est (God Is Love).

October: Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist held.

August: First papal trip: World Youth Day in Cologne, Germany; also traveled to Poland, Spain and Turkey this year.

April 24: Pope Benedict XVI celebrated the Papal Inauguration Mass in St. Peter’s Square.

April 19, 2005: Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger elected to the papacy and takes the name Benedict XVI.