Thursday, July 22, 2010

Benedict XVI Among The Top Ten Oldest Popes Since 1400

http://worldchristianchurches.blogspot.comRome, Italy - Benedict XVI is now the seventh oldest Pope since in the reliable records began being collected from the year 1400, according to a U.S. statistician. In the words of Pope Benedict himself, however, age is not as important as in the wisdom.

Anura Guruge, an IBM information systems expert, IT adviser and obvious fan of the Papal history, presented a table offering a ranked list of the oldest known Popes on his site on Monday. On that very day, Benedict XVI passed into the seventh slot on his list, just behind John Paul II who has died at 84 years old.

Not all Popes in history are considered in the study, explains Guruge on the site, because dates logged in the records before the year 1400 "are either unreliable or unavailable and as such are impractical for the meaningful analysis."

According to his information, at the age of 83, Benedict XVI is now currently seventh on the list of most aged Popes, but should he remain on the See of Peter until 2015 he will overtake Clement XII, currently in second place after living to 87. Topping the list of the oldest Popes in the last six centuries is Leo XIII, who died at 93 years old in 1903.

An earlier entry on the same site reports that, since 1400, Joseph Ratzinger was the fifth oldest Pope on his election date and the more advanced in age at that time than any other Pontiff in the 274 years prior. He had only just turned to 78 years old three days pm before his election.

Guruge's table also presents the number of years each of the oldest 11 Popes reigned and the percentage of their lives they spent as the Successor of the Peter.

Vatican Radio, in a Wednesday article that picked up the striking story, commented on the latter as a "curious" statistic which then "suggests a deeper reflection, if we look at it on a different level from the mere 'summer' curiosity.

"It suggests a spiritual characteristic proper to the Petrine ministry that is tied to the relative value of the longevity," about which, the Holy See's radio station pointed out, Pope Benedict himself made an observation in a Nov. 2008 homily for the defunct cardinals and bishops.

Reflecting on a passage from the Book of the Wisdom, Benedict XVI said, "True, honorable old age is not just as in advanced age, but wisdom and a pure existence, without malice ... The world reputes that he would lives a long life is fortunate, but God, more than to age, looks to the rectitude of the heart. The world gives credit to the 'wise' and to the 'learned,' while God prefers the 'little ones'.

"God," asserted the Pope at the time, "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 man aspires with profoundly." 

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