Pope Benedict XVI explains the choice of his papal name

In his first general audience after being elected, Pope Benedict XVI unveiled the reasoning behind his choice of name. He shared that there were two significant reasons for his decision to be called Benedict XVI.

The first reason he cited was his admiration for his predecessor, Benedict XV, who led the Church through the turbulence of the First World War. Pope Benedict XVI expressed his desire to establish a spiritual connection with the courageous prophet of peace, and follow in his footsteps by dedicating his ministry to fostering reconciliation and harmony between individuals and nations. He believed that peace is a precious but fragile gift of God that must be prayed for, protected, and cultivated day after day.

The second reason for his choice of name was his deep devotion to St. Benedict of Nursia, who founded the Benedictine Order and is considered the Patriarch of Western Monasticism. St. Benedict’s teachings and legacy had a profound impact on the spread of Christianity across Europe, making him a fundamental reference point for European unity and a powerful reminder of the essential Christian roots of its culture and civilization. Pope Benedict XVI was particularly moved by the Rule that St. Benedict left for his monks, which urged them to prioritize the love of Christ above all else.

Pope Benedict XVI’s decision to adopt the name Benedict XVI was a unique and significant choice that reflected his profound spirituality and commitment to following in the footsteps of his revered predecessors. It provided him with a guiding light and deep sense of purpose throughout his pontificate.

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