Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI was elected the 265th successor of St Peter on 19 April 2005. His visit to the UK in 2010 was the first State visit of a Bishop of Rome to these shores.

On these pages you can read Pope Benedict XVI’s biography, his three Encyclical Letters – Papal Letters on important subjects – and find out more about the papacy.


Pope Benedict XVI's biography from his birth in 1927 through to his election as the 265th Successor of St Peter on 19 April 2005.

Becoming a Pope

The procedure following the death of the Pope was revised by the Vatican in February 1996. The new document (Universi Dominici Gregis, "The shepherd of the Lords whole flock") replaces the previous instruction of 1975 from Pope Paul VI. In February 2013, the norms were amended slightly by Benedict XVI's final Motu Proprio Normas nonnullas.

Key Teachings

This section provides extracts from the key teachings of Pope Benedict XVI, including encyclicals, published work and the Apostolic Constitution.