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Forbes: The World’s Most Powerful People 2012

5. Pope Benedict XVI

Pope, Roman Catholic Church
Age: 85

How’s this for a job description? According to the doctrine of Papal Supremacy, the Pope enjoys “supreme, full, immediate, and universal power” over the souls of 1.2 billion Catholics around the world. They turn to the Vicar of Christ for the final word on life’s most personal decisions, including birth control, abortion, marriage, and euthanasia. As the leader of Vatican City, he’s also the head of state. Of course, the pope faces dissent anyway—recently from “radical feminist” American nuns.

(VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)



More from Forbes:
Full List: The World’s Most Powerful People
Newcomers on the World’s Most Powerful People List
The Youngest Power People



The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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