How old was the youngest man acknowledged by the Vatican as pope?  Let’s look at what it takes to be the pope and delve a bit into the history to see who the youngest pope was.

The Head of the Church

The pope is the head of the Catholic Church. The pope serves as both the head of the Catholic Church and the head of the Vatican state, to be a pope there are a few steps to follow, and even fewer requirement. The requirements being, to be male and to be an active member of the Catholic Church.   By following these steps, you won’t necessarily become a pope, but to become a pope you do have to follow these steps.

Becoming the Pope

The first step to follow is to become a Catholic, if you were not born in to Catholic faith, the first step will be to convert to the Catholic Church. You will have to be educated, this process is usually done in a kid’s teenage years, and it is called catechism. Then, you have to get baptized, and the final step to become Catholic is to confess to all your sins.

The second is to become a priest, as this will be your lifestyle, it is important that you consider what becoming a priest entail. You can consult your church’s priest, consider your qualities and those needed to be a priest.

Get involved in the church, take more leadership roles within your church, you can start a new youth program, if there isn’t one already, you can gather people to join a church, meet people from other churches, and go to international conferences.

Education

Education is important to the Vatican, they emphasize that all members of the Vatican shall be well educated, starting with a high school diploma and opt to learn a foreign language. You will have to attend a seminary specially taught for potential priests at specific colleges.   It is important for you to find your spiritual journey, you can attend one of many schools to educate you on the Catholic doctrine, but it will be your decision to learn about it, to enroll in the program and to follow all the steps.

Ascending to the Papacy

Once you’ve become a priest, you have to follow your vocation and be a good priest to your church, be responsible, reliable and a good example.  The next step is to become a bishop, for this, you will have to have made a good impression as a priest and reached out to those and need looking for guidance from the church. It is crucial that a bishop has good communication skills and works well with others.  As a bishop, also referred to as pastor you will be the authority of your region. Bishops are chosen by the pope himself. You will have to keep in contact with the archbishop for your region and attend regular Bishop meetings.

Become a cardinal, to do so, you must have been selected by the pope to serve as cardinal to a region with high numbers of Catholic churches, not all regions are assigned a cardinal.  After having become a cardinal, you can be nominated for the next elections, the pope is elected by votes and are to serve as both pope to the Catholic Church and leader of the Vatican.

Having explained all the steps, it takes to become a Pope, who was the youngest to deserve the seat at the Catholic church?

A young boy, born by the name Theophylactus of Tusculum, became pope at the age of 20 (allegedly as his birthdate has not been confirmed) became the youngest pope in the history of the church. He was the nephew of both John XIX and Benedict VIII, who had both served as pope to the Church.

He has not only been named the youngest Pope, but also the worst, as in his time many tried for him to leave the seat as Pope, due to his poor decisions.  Benedict IX, the youngest pope in history served on three different terms, from 1032-1044, from 1045-1045, having served only one month and from 1047-1048.

Having been expelled from Rome the first and second time he served as Pope, he abdicated after his third term, as it is said he wanted to marry his cousin. He later on regretted the decision and returned to Rome and claimed the Throne, nevertheless it was Gregory VI who served as pope even after his return.

In today’s world it would be nearly impossible to become the Pope at such a young age.  During the election process the Cardinals look for someone who it more mature and can offer not just wisdom that comes with age but guidance for the church as well.