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Popes of the 21st Century

History of the Roman Catholic Papacy and Church


Below is a list of all of the popes who reigned during the twenty-first century. The first number is which pope they were. This is followed by their chosen name, the starting and ending dates of their reigns, and finally the number of years they were pope. Follow the links to read short biographies of each pope and learn about what they did, what they believed, and what impact they had on the course of the Roman Catholic Church.

265. Pope John Paul II: October 16, 1978 - April 2, 2005
The currently reigning pope, Pope John Paul II is also one of the longest reigning popes in the history of the Church. John Paul as tried to steera course between reform and tradition, often siding more strongly with the forces of tradition, much to the dismay of progressive Catholics.

266. Pope Benedict XVI: April 24, 2005 -
Joseph Ratzinger was elected pope on April 19, 2005, and adopted the name Benedict XVI. At 78 years old, he became the 265th pope according to the official lists. Ratzinger was formerly Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the organization once known as the Inquisition. Joseph Ratzinger was long known as one of the most powerful forces for conservatism in the Vatican.

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