by Anura Guruge
The recent chatter about a possible conclave in 2012 (though I do NOT subscribe to that belief) got me thinking that maybe I really should do a papal update for 2012 — though up until then I was hoping to give 2012 a miss since I was already working on two other books: one on calendars and the other on the Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church.
Right now, at least for me, the most significant papal event I foresee for 2012 is Benedict XVI (#266) becoming the 6th oldest pope, as of 1400, on February 29, 2012. To be precise, he becomes JOINT 6th oldest, with John Paul II (#265) on that leap day. It will be on March 1, 2012 that he surges ahead of his old friend to own the 6th oldest (as of 1400) berth all to himself.
>> We have known, since July 19, 2010, thanks to my efforts here, that that the pope was getting towards the top end of the ‘Oldest Since 1400’ list.
>> A few days later, I also shared with you that the pope was the 5th oldest to be elected pope — again as of 1400.
>> Last month, on November 22, I shared this with you: Of those elected pope post their 78th birthday (as of 1400) only Clement XII (#247) has reigned for longer. I was told you that of those elected pope post their 78th birthday (as of 1400), only the two Clements, XII (#247) and X (#240), have lived to be older.
But, thinking about 2012 made me realize that there was ONE OTHER statistic that I had NOT calculated. That being what was the pope’s ranking, in terms of longevity, the day he was elected, i.e., at 78 years and 3 days where did Benedict XVI stand in terms of the other popes (since 1400) in terms of age.
I now have the answer.
The day he was elected he was the 24th oldest pope — as of 1400.
So he has been vaulting across the longevity ranks at a rapid rate — already going up 17 places.
Something else also rather interesting, of the 62 popes since 1400, none died at the age of 77! So, on April 19, 2005, the next youngest to the 78-year old new pope was 76 years old.
Yes, over the last three days I have been working on a new spreadsheet with all the ages and reigns calculated, very precisely (taking into account leap days), in terms of DAYS. Yes, I blocked out those columns because I didn’t think any of you would find that useful. [SMILE]. So, have a look at this latest chart. Over the next few days, using this chart, I will publish some interesting papal trivia.