Do you know any of these 15 surprising, but true interesting facts about Pope Benedict XVI? Read below and count how many you do!

• On April 16, 2008, Benedict XVI celebrated his 81st birthday. On that day he was at the White House, after attending a prayer service with bishops at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.

• Two students from the Catholic University of America designed the altar Benedict XVI celebrated Mass upon at Nationals’ Park.

• Kelly Clarkson, the first season’s winner of American Idol, sang for Benedict XVI at Saint Joseph Seminary. One of the hymns she sang was Ave Maria.

• On April 20th, 2008 Benedict XVI visited Ground Zero and celebrated Mass at Yankee Stadium. Harry Connick, Jr., Jose Feliciano, and Dana performed for him at Yankee Stadium before Mass.

• Benedict XVI had a pilot’s license, and liked to fly the papal helicopter from the Vatican to his papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo. However, he never had a driver’s license because he never learned to drive.

• Weideneder Brau Vertriebs GmbH, a family owned brewery in Tann, Germany, made a special brew named Pabstbier (Pope Beer). The label reads: “Dedicated to the Great Son of our Homeland, Pope Benedict XVI.”

• Benedict XVI was the youngest of three children whose father, Joseph Sr., was a police officer. His brother, Monsignor Georg Ratzinger, was a retired priest.

• Benedict XVI’s sister Maria was his housekeeper until she passed at the age of 69.

• At the age of 16, Josef Ratzinger was drafted into the German army.

• In 1945, during World War II, Josef deserted from the German army and was a U.S. prisoner of war.

• Benedict XVI is fluent in German, English, Italian, French, Spanish, classical Latin, and can also speak some Portuguese.

• Benedict enjoys playing the piano and listening to the music of Mozart and Bach daily.

• Benedict XVI loves cats and had two of his own during his papacy. One was a stray he found in Rome.

• Benedict still has the stuffed animals his mother made for him when he was a child.

• Benedict XVI’s favorite meal is Bavarian potato ravioli with pancake strips.


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