Pope Benedict XVI
I wanted to be called Benedict XVI in order to create a spiritual
bond with Benedict XV, who steered the Church through the period of
turmoil caused by the First World War.
The name Benedict also calls to mind the extraordinary figure of the
great Patriarch of Western Monasticism, Saint Benedict of Norcia,
Co-Patron of Europe together with Saints Cyril and Methodius, and the
women Saints Bridget of Sweden, Catherine of Siena and Edith Stein.
The gradual expansion of the Benedictine Order that he founded had an
enormous influence on the spread of Christianity across the Continent. St
Benedict is therefore deeply venerated, also in
Germany and particularly in
Bavaria, my birthplace; he is a fundamental reference point for European
unity and a powerful reminder of the indispensable Christian roots of its
culture and civilisation.