Fast Facts: What's in a Name?

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger reached back into the Catholic Church's past when he selected the name Pope Benedict XVI (search). Here's a look at some of the previious Benedicts:

-- Benedict XV (reigned 1914-1922): He was chosen as a contrast with his predecessor Pius X, whose theological crackdown against "modernism" had roiled the church. His accession coincided with the start of World War I.

-- Benedict XIV (1740-1758): He was a compromise choice after an arduous six-month conclave. Like Ratzinger, he was considered a scholar.

-- Benedict XIII (1724-1730): A rare pope from a religious order, the Dominicans, he remained head of his former Italian diocese as well as the bishop of Rome.

-- Benedict XII (1335-1342): He was one of the French popes who reigned from Avignon instead of Rome, considered a bleak era for the papacy.

-- Benedict XI (1303-1304): Also a Dominican, he was considered scholarly and a peacemaker among church factions.

-- Benedict X (1058-1059): His election was challenged by some cardinals, who fled rome and met in Siena in 1058 to elect another pontiff, Pope Nicholas II. Nicholas had Benedict deposed and excommunicated. In Rome, Nicholas waged war against Benedict, which ultimately forced Benedict X surrender and renounce the papacy.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.