The Deacon's Bench

Only 5th?


Pope Benedict XVI won the No. 5 spot in a list of the world’s most powerful people, one of only two religious leaders in Forbes magazine’s list of 68 influential men and women.

Benedict was sandwiched between Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The only other religious leader on the list was the Dalai Lama, who ranked at No. 39.

Forbes, which released the list Wednesday (Nov. 3), scored the rankings by the person’s influence over people, which for religious leaders meant counting the followers in their flocks.

The pope was named the “highest earthly authority for 1.1 billion souls,” which represents one-sixth of the world’s population. He was noted for “healing old wounds” in September when he became the first modern pope to visit London’s Westminster Abbey, where he shook the hand of a clergywoman.

The Dalai Lama was praised in the list for “keeping China honest” and providing spiritual leadership for millions of Buddhists and his political leadership for 150,000 Tibetans in exile.

The pope jumped ahead six spots in this year’s rankings, while the Dalai Lama stayed put.

You can read more, and see who else made the list, here.

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