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March 13, 2013

The past 10 popes

As Catholics worldwide await the election of a new pope, here's a look at the 10 most recent popes.

Benedict XVI

April 19, 2005-Deb. 28, 2013
Benedict became the first pope in centuries to resign rather than die in office. Elected in only four ballots, he was previously head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

John Paul II

October 16, 1978-April 2, 2005
The first non-Italian pope in 455 years, John Paul II was also among the longest-serving popes and canonized more saints than all his predecessors combined.

John Paul I

Aug. 26, 1978-28 Sept., 1978
Named for his immediate predecessors, John Paul I was unusual in using "the first" as part of his formal name. He served just over a month.

Paul VI

June 21, 1963-Aug. 6, 1978
Pope Paul VI was the last pope to date to have been crowned with the papal tiara.  He concluded the Second Vatican Council begun by his predecessor.

John XXIII

October 28, 1958-June 3, 1963
Perhaps best known for opening the Second Vatican Council, John XXIII used the motto "Obedience and peace."

Pius XII

March 2, 1939-Oct. 9, 1958
Elected as World War II loomed in Europe, Pius XII was the former Papal Nuncio (ambassador) to Germany. His conduct during the war remains controversial.

Pius XI

Feb. 6, 1922-Feb 10, 1939
The pope regained temporal authority during the reign of Pius XI when the Lateran Treaty with Italy established Vatican City as a soverign state.

Benedict XV

Sept. 3, 1914-Jan. 22, 1922
Remembered as a spokesman for peace during a time of war. The most recent pope, Benedict XVI, took his papal name in part as a symbol of his goal of promoting peace.

Pius X

Aug. 4, 1903-Aug. 20, 1914
Pius X is the most recent pope to have been canonized as a saint. He pushed for expanded reception of communion.

Leo XIII

Feb. 20, 1878-July 20, 1903
The final pope of the 19th Century, Leo XIII supported democracy as a bulwark against communism. His was the fourth-longest reign as pope.

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