Since Pope Benedict XVI announced his retirement a month or so ago, a common meme from both his supporters and critics has been how “short” his papacy was, given that we’re used to the relatively long reigns we’ve seen in the past two centuries. After St. Peter himself, the longest reigning popes are, in order, Blessed Pius IX, Blessed John Paul II, and Leo XIII. Pius X (11 years), Pius XI (17 years), Pius XII (19 years) and Paul VI (15 years), all stuck around a while. So, yes, since the fall of the Papal States and the First Vatican Council, B16 has had the third or fourth shortest reign after John Paul I and Bl. John XXIII, and is (by approximate years) tied with Benedict XV (interestingly fitting).
So it is easy to see why, experientially, people might think that his reign was “short.” In fact, it was “average.”
(2013-33)/265 = 7.47. . . . This site somehow came up with a figure of 7.2 years as the average reign.
So, seen from *that* perspective, it’s been on the long side.