Originally Posted by Giannawannabe
I'm not really up on Papal history. I was just wondering if Pope Benedict XVI is the first German Pope? If not, who were the others?
Wednesday, April 20, 2005. 6:00am (AEST)
It has been so long since the Roman Catholic Church picked a German as pope that historians cannot agree whether Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger is the first in 482, 1,047 or 1,048 years.
The problem is that modern concepts of nationality and nation states did not exist centuries ago, when loyalties were more to local princes and political alliances changed often.
German historians claim Hadrian VI (1522-1523) as the last German pope.
But Vatican records show he was born in Utrecht in the present-day Netherlands and the university there says he was a Dutchman named Adriaan Floriszoon Boeijens.
At the time, Utrecht was part of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, a loose empire that covered a wide part of western and central Europe before modern Germany emerged.
Looking further back, German historians also claim Stephen IX (1057-1058) as German.
However, the Vatican lists him as a native of Lorraine - an area in the eastern part of present-day France that has often changed hand between French and German rulers.
The line does not become clear until his predecessor Victor II (1055-1057), who is clearly listed as a Swabian, or native of the south-western German region where the Black Forest is located.