- In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing. Theodore Roosevelt
See the Pope
Surprising things about being Pope.
He Could Be a Teenager
There's no official age requirement for the post. The youngest pope to be elected in Vatican history is Pope John XII, who is believed to have been 18-years-old when he ascended to the papacy in 955. More recently, Pope Clement X, pictured, is the oldest. He was nearly 80 when he became pontiff in 1679, and he served for six years.
He Has to be Multilingual
Latin is the language of the Catholic Church, and the pope must be fluent in order to conduct official business (day-to-day correspondences are conducted in modern languages). As the pope is also the Bishop of Rome, he is required to know Italian as well.
He Goes to Confession
He may be the Holy Father, but the pope is not exempt from confession; in fact, popes observe the sacrament far more frequently than the average Catholic (who, technically, is only required to go to confession when he or she has committed a mortal sin). Both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI went to confession weekly.
He's Head of His Own Country
In addition to presiding over 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide, the pope is head of the sovereign city-state, Vatican City, which has a population of around 900.
It's Almost Impossible For a Modern Pope To Be the Worst Pope In History
Popes of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance left behind a shady legacy, to put it mildly. Exhibit A: Pope Benedict IX (r. 1032-1048) sold the papacy to his godfather. However, the title of Worst Pope Ever has to go to Pope Alexander VI (r. 1492-1503), pictured, who among many questionable practices, established new cardinal positions in exchange for money when Church funds ran low. His blatant abuses of the papacy are considered to be partly responsible for the Protestant Reformation.