The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI was elected the 265th successor of St Peter on 19 April 2005. His Holiness is only the second non-Italian pope since 1522 - the other being his much-loved predecessor Pope John Paul II. To date, Pope Benedict has visited 15 countries and is due to visit Malta and Portugal this year before arriving in the UK for his four-day tour.
On these pages you’ll be able to read the Holy Father’s biography, look up his three Encyclical Letters (papal letters on important subjects) Church and re-visit a selection of the papal visits made in the last five years.
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.