Fact #2: To do the Pope's job, you've got to go ham in old age.


So you got elected Pope, you chose a papal name based on your favorite saint, and it's time to start running things. Remember: there's more to the job than having a kind spirit, an unconventional name, and a big distinctive hat.

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An average day for Benedict XVI had all the demanding managerial work of running a corporation or country, plus daily 7:00 AM Mass and lots of prayer between tasks. To Benedict, the only acceptable breaks were a quick garden stroll and the occasional staff viewing of an old black-and-white film.

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Benedict also made 25 trips abroad during his seven years as Pope. He visited six continents and logged thousands of miles in Shepherd One, the Papal version of Air Force One that is 100% a real thing I swear.


Benedict also broke his predecessor John Paul II's record to become the oldest Pope making trips abroad. He didn't let approaching age 85 stop him from visiting Spain, Germany (his home country), Benin, Cuba, and Mexico. If you're the Pope and you promise to go somewhere, you need to make your flock happy and get there NO MATTER WHAT.


All in all it's a stressful, demanding job where millions of people are counting on you, which makes it pretty surprising that before Benedict stepped down there hadn't been a papal resignation in 598 years. Every other pope in between held their post till the very end, finding some way to cling tenaciously to the job despite old age.

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So the next Pope will have a lot of work to do and a tradition of toughness to live up to. Is all that effort really worth the power you get out of the gig?