|Name:||Pope Benedict XVI|
|Birth Day:||April 16, 1927|
|Birth Place:||Marktl, Germany|
|Height:||in centimeters - N/A|
|Weight:||in kg - N/A|
He grew up in Traunstein, Germany, and was a conscripted member of the Hitler Youth despite his family's resentment of the Nazi Party. He was ordained as a priest in his native Bavaria in 1951.
Ratzinger's family, especially his father, bitterly resented the Nazis, and his father's opposition to Nazism resulted in demotions and harassment of the family. Following his 14th birthday in 1941, Ratzinger was conscripted into the Hitler Youth—as membership was required by law for all 14-year-old German boys after March 1939—but was an unenthusiastic member who refused to attend meetings, according to his brother. In 1941, one of Ratzinger's cousins, a 14-year-old boy with Down syndrome, was taken away by the Nazi regime and murdered during the Action T4 campaign of Nazi eugenics. In 1943, while still in seminary, he was drafted into the German anti-aircraft corps as Luftwaffenhelfer. Ratzinger then trained in the German infantry. As the Allied front drew closer to his post in 1945, he deserted back to his family's home in Traunstein after his unit had ceased to exist, just as American troops established a headquarters in the Ratzinger household. As a German soldier, he was interned in a prisoner of war camp, but released a few months later at the end of the war in May 1945.
Ratzinger and his brother Georg entered Saint Michael Seminary in Traunstein in November 1945, later studying at the Ducal Georgianum (Herzogliches Georgianum) of the Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich. They were both ordained in Freising on 29 June 1951 by Cardinal Michael von Faulhaber of Munich. Ratzinger recalled: "at the moment the elderly Archbishop laid his hands on me, a little bird – perhaps a lark – flew up from the altar in the high cathedral and trilled a little joyful song."
In his early twenties, he was deeply influenced by the thought of Italian German Romano Guardini who taught in Munich 1946 to 1951 when Ratzinger was studying in Freising and later at the University of Munich. The intellectual affinity between these two thinkers, who would later become decisive figures for the twentieth-century Church, was preoccupied with rediscovering the essential in Christianity: Guardini wrote his 1938 "The Essence of Christianity," while Ratzinger penned "Introduction to Christianity," three decades later in 1968. Guardini inspired many in the Catholic social-democratic tradition, particularly the Communion and Liberation movement in the New Evangelization encouraged under the papacy of Polish Pope John Paul II. Ratzinger wrote an introduction to a 1996 reissue of Guardini's 1954 "The Lord".
Ratzinger's 1953 dissertation was on St. Augustine and was titled The People and the House of God in Augustine's Doctrine of the Church. His habilitation (which qualified him for a professorship) was on Bonaventure. It was completed in 1957 and he became a professor of Freising College in 1958.
Ratzinger became a professor at the University of Bonn in 1959, with his inaugural lecture on "The God of Faith and the God of Philosophy". In 1963, he moved to the University of Münster. During this period, he participated in the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965) and served as a peritus (theological consultant) to Cardinal Frings of Cologne. He was viewed during the time of the council as a reformer, cooperating with theologians like Hans Küng and Edward Schillebeeckx. Ratzinger became an admirer of Karl Rahner, a well-known academic theologian of the Nouvelle Théologie and a proponent of church reform.
In 1966, Ratzinger was appointed to a chair in dogmatic theology at the University of Tübingen, where he was a colleague of Hans Küng. In his 1968 book Introduction to Christianity, he wrote that the pope has a duty to hear differing voices within the Church before making a decision, and he downplayed the centrality of the papacy. During this time, he distanced himself from the atmosphere of Tübingen and the Marxist leanings of the student movement of the 1960s that quickly radicalised, in the years 1967 and 1968, culminating in a series of disturbances and riots in April and May 1968. Ratzinger came increasingly to see these and associated developments (such as decreasing respect for authority among his students) as connected to a departure from traditional Catholic teachings. Despite his reformist bent, his views increasingly came to contrast with the liberal ideas gaining currency in theological circles.
In 1969, he returned to Bavaria, to the University of Regensburg and co-founded the theological journal Communio, with Hans Urs von Balthasar, Henri de Lubac, Walter Kasper and others, in 1972. Communio, now published in seventeen languages, including German, English and Spanish, has become a prominent journal of contemporary Catholic theological thought. Until his election as pope, he remained one of the journal's most prolific contributors. In 1976, he suggested that the Augsburg Confession might possibly be recognised as a Catholic statement of faith. Several of Benedict's former students became his confidantes, notably Christoph Schönborn, and a number of his former students sometimes meet for discussions. He served as Vice President of the University of Regensburg from 1976 to 1977.
On 24 March 1977, Ratzinger was appointed Archbishop of Munich and Freising. He took as his episcopal motto Cooperatores Veritatis (Co-workers of the Truth) from 3 John 8, a choice he comments upon in his autobiographical work, Milestones. In the consistory of the following 27 June, he was named Cardinal-Priest of Santa Maria Consolatrice al Tiburtino by Pope Paul VI. By the time of the 2005 Conclave, he was one of only 14 remaining cardinals appointed by Paul VI, and one of only three of those under the age of 80. Of these, only he and William Wakefield Baum took part in the conclave.
On 25 November 1981, Pope John Paul II, upon the retirement of Franjo Šeper, named Ratzinger as the Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, formerly known as the "Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office", the historical Roman Inquisition. Consequently, he resigned his post at Munich in early 1982. He was promoted within the College of Cardinals to become Cardinal Bishop of Velletri-Segni in 1993 and was made the college's vice-dean in 1998 and dean in 2002. Just a year after its foundation in 1990 Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger joined the European Academy of Sciences and Arts in Salzburg/Austria in 1991.
On 12 March 1983, Ratzinger, as prefect, notified the lay faithful and the clergy that Archbishop Pierre Martin Ngo Dinh Thuc had incurred excommunication latae sententiae for illicit episcopal consecrations without the apostolic mandate. In 1997, when he turned 70, Ratzinger asked Pope John Paul II for permission to leave the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith and to become an archivist in the Vatican Secret Archives and a librarian in the Vatican Library, but Pope John Paul ll refused his assent.
During his time as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), Benedict XVI made several efforts to tackle the issue of homosexuality within the Church and the wider world. In 1986 the CDF sent a letter to all bishops entitled: On the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons. The letter condemned a liberal interpretation of the earlier CDF document Declaration on Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics, which had led to a "benign" attitude "to the homosexual condition itself". On the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons clarified that the Church's position on homosexuality was that "although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder." However the document also condemned homophobic attacks and violence, stating that "It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the Church's pastors wherever it occurs."
Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger was born on 16 April, Holy Saturday, 1927, at Schulstraße 11, at 8:30 in the morning in his parents' home in Marktl, Bavaria, Germany. He was baptised the same day. He is the third and youngest child of Joseph Ratzinger Sr., a police officer, and Maria Ratzinger (née Peintner); his grand-uncle was the German priest-politician Georg Ratzinger. His mother's family was originally from South Tyrol (now in Italy). Pope Benedict's elder brother, Georg Ratzinger, was a Catholic priest and was the former director of the Regensburger Domspatzen choir. His sister, Maria Ratzinger, who never married, managed Cardinal Ratzinger's household until her death in 1991.
In 1992, he again approved CDF documents declaring that homosexual "inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder" and extended this principle to civil law. "Sexual orientation", the document said, was not equivalent to race or ethnicity, and it declared that it was "not unjust discrimination to take sexual orientation into account."
Some voices, among them Küng, deem this a turn towards conservatism, while Ratzinger himself said in a 1993 interview, "I see no break in my views as a theologian [over the years]". Ratzinger continued to defend the work of the Second Vatican Council, including Nostra aetate, the document on respect of other religions, ecumenism and the declaration of the right to freedom of religion. Later, as the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Ratzinger most clearly spelled out the Catholic Church's position on other religions in the 2000 document Dominus Iesus which also talks about the Catholic way to engage in "ecumenical dialogue". During his time at Tübingen University, Ratzinger published articles in the reformist theological journal Concilium, though he increasingly chose less reformist themes than other contributors to the magazine such as Küng and Schillebeeckx.
The asteroid 8661 Ratzinger was named in his honor for the role he played in supervising the opening of Vatican archives in 1998 to researchers investigating judicial errors against Galileo and other medieval scientists. The name was proposed by the asteroid's first discoverers, L. D. Schmadel and F. Borngen at Tautenburg.
One of the cases Ratzinger pursued involved Father Marcial Maciel Degollado, a Mexican priest and founder of the Legion of Christ, who had been accused repeatedly of sexual abuse. Biographer Andrea Tornielli suggested that Cardinal Ratzinger had wanted to take action against Maciel Degollado, but that John Paul II and other high-ranking officials, including several cardinals and notably the Pope's influential secretary Stanisław Dziwisz, prevented him from doing so. According to Jason Berry, Angelo Sodano "pressured" Cardinal Ratzinger, who was "operating on the assumption that the charges were not justified", to halt the proceedings against Maciel in 1999. When Maciel was honored by the Pope in 2004, new accusers came forward and Cardinal Ratzinger "took it on himself to authorize an investigation of Maciel". After Ratzinger became pope he began proceedings against Maciel and the Legion of Christ that forced Maciel out of active service in the Church. On 1 May 2010, the Vatican issued a statement denouncing Maciel's "very serious and objectively immoral acts", which were "confirmed by incontrovertible testimonies" and represent "true crimes and manifest a life without scruples or authentic religious sentiment." Pope Benedict also said he would appoint a special commission to examine the Legionaries' constitution and open an investigation into its lay affiliate Regnum Christi. Cardinal Christoph Schönborn explained that Ratzinger "made entirely clear efforts not to cover things up but to tackle and investigate them. This was not always met with approval in the Vatican". According to Schönborn, Cardinal Ratzinger had pressed John Paul II to investigate Hans Hermann Groër, an Austrian cardinal and friend of John Paul accused of sexual abuse, resulting in Groër's resignation.
Ratzinger's 2001 letter De delictis gravioribus clarified the confidentiality of internal church investigations, as defined in the 1962 document Crimen Sollicitationis, into accusations made against priests of certain crimes, including sexual abuse. This became a subject of controversy during the sex abuse cases. For 20 years, Ratzinger had been the man in charge of enforcing the document.
Prior to 2001, the primary responsibility for investigating allegations of sexual abuse and disciplining perpetrators rested with the individual dioceses. In 2001, Ratzinger convinced John Paul II to put the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in charge of all investigations and policies surrounding sexual abuse to combat such abuse more efficiently. According to John L. Allen, Jr., Ratzinger in the following years "acquired a familiarity with the contours of the problem that virtually no other figure in the Catholic Church can claim" and "driven by that encounter with what he would later refer to as 'filth' in the Church, Ratzinger seems to have undergone something of a 'conversion experience' throughout 2003–04. From that point forward, he and his staff seemed driven by a convert's zeal to clean up the mess". In his role as Head of the CDF, he "led important changes made in Church law: the inclusion in canon law of internet offences against children, the extension of child abuse offences to include the sexual abuse of all under 18, the case by case waiving of the statute of limitation and the establishment of a fast-track dismissal from the clerical state for offenders." As the Head of the CDF, Ratzinger developed a reputation for handling these cases. According to Charles J. Scicluna, a former prosecutor handling sexual abuse cases, "Cardinal Ratzinger displayed great wisdom and firmness in handling those cases, also demonstrating great courage in facing some of the most difficult and thorny cases, sine acceptione personarum (without exceptions)".
In a 2004 Le Figaro interview, Ratzinger said that Turkey, which is demographically Muslim but governmentally secular by virtue of its state constitution, should seek its future in an association of Muslim nations rather than the European Union, which Ratzinger stated has Christian roots. He said Turkey had always been "in permanent contrast to Europe and that linking it to Europe would be a mistake".
On 2 January 2005, Time magazine quoted unnamed Vatican sources as saying that Ratzinger was a front runner to succeed John Paul II should he die or become too ill to continue as pope. On the death of John Paul II, the Financial Times gave the odds of Ratzinger becoming pope as 7–1, the lead position, but close to his rivals on the liberal wing of the church. In April 2005, before his election as pope, he was identified as one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time. While Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Ratzinger repeatedly stated he would like to retire to his house in the Bavarian village of Pentling near Regensburg and dedicate himself to writing books.
At the conclave, "it was, if not Ratzinger, who? And as they came to know him, the question became, why not Ratzinger?" On 19 April 2005, he was elected on the second day after four ballots. Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor described the final vote, "It's very solemn when you go up one by one to put your vote in the urn and you're looking up at the Last Judgement of Michelangelo. And I still remember vividly the then Cardinal Ratzinger sitting on the edge of his chair." Ratzinger had hoped to retire peacefully and said that "At a certain point, I prayed to God 'please don't do this to me'...Evidently, this time He didn't listen to me." Before his first appearance on the balcony of Saint Peter's Basilica, he was announced by Jorge Medina Estévez, Cardinal Protodeacon of the Catholic Church. Cardinal Medina Estévez first addressed the massive crowd as "dear(est) brothers and sisters" in Italian, Spanish, French, German and English, with each language receiving cheers from the international crowd, before continuing with the traditional Habemus Papam announcement in Latin.
On 9 May 2005, Benedict XVI began the beatification process for his predecessor, Pope John Paul II. Normally, five years must pass after a person's death before the beatification process can begin. However, in an audience with Pope Benedict, Camillo Ruini, Vicar General of the Diocese of Rome and the official responsible for promoting the cause for canonization of any person who dies within that diocese, cited "exceptional circumstances" which suggested that the waiting period could be waived. This happened before, when Pope Paul VI waived the five-year rule and announced beatification processes for two of his predecessors, Pope Pius XII and Pope John XXIII. Benedict XVI followed this precedent when he waived the five-year rule for John Paul II. The decision was announced on 13 May 2005, the Feast of Our Lady of Fátima and the 24th anniversary of the attempt on John Paul II's life. John Paul II often credited Our Lady of Fátima for preserving him on that day. Cardinal Ruini inaugurated the diocesan phase of the cause for beatification in the Lateran Basilica on 28 June 2005.
The first beatification under the new pope was celebrated on 14 May 2005, by José Cardinal Saraiva Martins, Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. The new Blesseds were Mother Marianne Cope and Mother Ascensión Nicol Goñi. Cardinal Clemens August Graf von Galen was beatified on 9 October 2005. Mariano de la Mata was beatified in November 2006 and Rosa Eluvathingal was beatified 3 December of that year, and Fr. Basil Moreau was beatified September 2007. In October 2008, the following beatifications took place: Celestine of the Mother of God, Giuseppina Nicoli, Hendrina Stenmanns, Maria Rosa Flesch, Marta Anna Wiecka, Michael Sopocko, Petrus Kibe Kasui and 187 Companions, Susana Paz-Castillo Ramírez, and Maria Isbael Salvat Romero.
Unlike his predecessor, Benedict XVI delegated the beatification liturgical service to a Cardinal. On 29 September 2005, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints issued a communiqué announcing that henceforth beatifications would be celebrated by a representative of the pope, usually the prefect of that Congregation.
Pope Benedict XVI celebrated his first canonizations on 23 October 2005 in St. Peter's Square when he canonized Josef Bilczewski, Alberto Hurtado SJ, Zygmunt Gorazdowski, Gaetano Catanoso and Felice da Nicosia. The canonizations were part of a Mass that marked the conclusion of the General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops and the Year of the Eucharist. Pope Benedict XVI canonized Bishop Rafael Guizar y Valencia, Mother Theodore Guerin, Filippo Smaldone and Rosa Venerini on 15 October 2006.
Continuing what he said in the pre-conclave Mass about what he often referred to as the "central problem of our faith today", on 6 June 2005 Pope Benedict also said:
Prior to his election as pope in 2005, Ratzinger had hoped to retire—on account of age-related health problems, a long-held desire to have free time to write, and the retirement age for bishops (75)—and submitted his resignation as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith three times, but continued at his post in obedience to the wishes of Pope John Paul II. In September 1991, Ratzinger suffered a hemorrhagic stroke, which slightly impaired his eyesight temporarily but which he recovered completely. This was never officially made public—the official news was that Ratzinger had fallen and struck his head against a radiator—but was an open secret known to the conclave that elected him pope.
Following his election in April 2005 there were several rumors about the Pope's health, but none of them were confirmed. Early in his pontificate Benedict XVI predicted a short reign, which led to concerns about his health. In May 2005 the Vatican announced that he had suffered another mild stroke. French Cardinal Philippe Barbarin said that since the first stroke Ratzinger had been suffering from an age-related heart condition, for which he was on medication. In late November 2006 Vatican insiders told the international press that the Pope had had a routine examination of the heart. A few days later an unconfirmed rumor emerged that Pope Benedict had undergone an operation in preparation for an eventual bypass operation, but this rumor was only published by a small left-wing Italian newspaper and was never confirmed by any Vatican insider.
Following the announcement of his resignation, the Vatican revealed that Pope Benedict had been fitted with a pacemaker while he was still a cardinal, before his election as pope in 2005. The battery in the pacemaker had been replaced three months earlier, a routine procedure, but that did not influence his decision.
In 2005, the pope listed several ways to combat the spread of HIV, including chastity, fidelity in marriage and anti-poverty efforts; he also rejected the use of condoms. The alleged Vatican investigation of whether there are any cases when married persons may use condoms to protect against the spread of infections surprised many Catholics in the wake of John Paul II's consistent refusal to consider condom use in response to AIDS. However, the Vatican has since stated that no such change in the Church's teaching can occur. TIME also reported in its edition of 30 April 2006 that the Vatican's position remains what it always has been with Vatican officials "flatly dismiss[ing] reports that the Vatican is about to release a document that will condone any condom use."
Pope Benedict made only modest changes to the structure of the Roman Curia. In March 2006, he placed both the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples and the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace under a single president, Cardinal Renato Martino. When Martino retired in 2009, the Councils each received its own preside once again. Also in March 2006, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue was briefly merged into the Pontifical Council for Culture under Cardinal Paul Poupard. Those Councils maintained their separate officials and staffs while their status and competencies continued unchanged, and in May 2007, Interreligious Dialogue was restored to its separate status again with its own president. In June 2010, Benedict created the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelisation, appointing Archbishop Rino Fisichella its first president. On 16 January 2013, Pope Benedict transferred responsibility for catechesis from the Congregation for the Clergy to the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization.
Sacramentum caritatis (The Sacrament of Charity), signed 22 February 2007, was released in Latin, Italian, English, French, German, Portuguese, Spanish and Polish. It was made available in various languages 13 March 2007 in Rome. The English edition from Libera Editrice Vaticana is 158 pages. This apostolic exhortation "seeks to take up the richness and variety of the reflections and proposals which emerged from the Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops" which was held in 2006.
Speaking at his weekly audience in St Peter's Square on 7 June 2006, Pope Benedict asserted that Jesus himself had entrusted the leadership of the Church to his apostle Peter. "Peter's responsibility thus consists of guaranteeing the communion with Christ. Let us pray so that the primacy of Peter, entrusted to poor human beings, may always be exercised in this original sense desired by the Lord, so that it will be increasingly recognised in its true meaning by brothers who are still not in communion with us."
Also in 2006, Benedict met Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury and spiritual head of the Anglican Communion. In their Common Declaration, they highlighted the previous 40 years of dialogue between Catholics and Anglicans while also acknowledging "serious obstacles to our ecumenical progress". Benedict also acknowledged the Lutheran church, saying that he has had friends in that denomination.
Pope Benedict's relations with Islam were strained at times. On 12 September 2006 he delivered a lecture which touched on Islam at the University of Regensburg in Germany. He had served there as a professor of theology before becoming Pope, and his lecture was entitled "Faith, Reason and the University—Memories and Reflections". The lecture received much attention from political and religious authorities. Many Islamic politicians and religious leaders registered their protest against what they labelled an insulting mischaracterisation of Islam, although his focus was aimed towards the rationality of religious violence, and its effect on the religion. Muslims were particularly offended by this passage that the Pope quoted in his speech: "Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached."
The Dalai Lama congratulated Pope Benedict XVI upon his election, and visited him in October 2006 in the Vatican City. In 2007, China was accused of using its political influence to stop a meeting between the Pope and the Dalai Lama.
On only one occasion, 21 December 2005, the Pope wore the camauro, the traditional red papal hat usually worn in the winter. It had not been seen since the pontificate of Pope John XXIII (1958–1963). On 6 September 2006, the Pope began wearing the red cappello romano (also called a saturno), a wide-brimmed hat for outdoor use. Rarely used by John Paul II, it was more widely worn by his predecessors.
On 13 November 2006, Benedict said that the dispute over the North Korea nuclear weapons program should be resolved through negotiations, in his first public comment on the security issue, a news report said. "The Holy See encourages bilateral or multilateral negotiations, convinced that the solution must be sought through peaceful means and in respect for agreements taken by all sides to obtain the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula." Benedict was talking to the new Japanese ambassador to the Vatican.
During his visit to Brazil in 2007, Pope Benedict XVI presided over the canonization of Frei Galvão on 11 May, while George Preca, founder of the Malta-based M.U.S.E.U.M., Szymon of Lipnica, Charles of Mount Argus and Marie-Eugénie de Jésus were canonized in a ceremony held at the Vatican on 3 June 2007. Preca is the first Maltese saint since the country's conversion to Christianity in 60 A.D. when St. Paul converted the inhabitants. In October 2008, the following canonizations took place: Saint Alphonsa of India, Gaetano Errico, Narcisa de Jesus Martillo Moran and Maria Bernarda Bütler. In April 2009, he canonized Arcangelo Tadini, Bernardo Tolomei, Nuno Álvares Pereira, Geltrude Comensoli, and Caterina Volpicelli. In October of the same year he canonized Jeanne Jugan, Jozef Damian de Veuster, Zygmunt Szczęsny Feliński, Francisco Coll Guitart and Rafael Arnáiz Barón.
Benedict's second encyclical titled Spe Salvi ("Saved by Hope"), about the virtue of hope, was released on 30 November 2007. His third encyclical titled Caritas in veritate ("Love in Truth" or "Charity in Truth"), was signed on 29 June 2009 (the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul) and released on 7 July 2009. In it, the Pope continued the Church's teachings on social justice. He condemned the prevalent economic system "where the pernicious effects of sin are evident," and called on people to rediscover ethics in business and economic relations.
On 7 July 2007, Benedict XVI issued the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, declaring that upon "the request of the faithful", celebration of Mass according to the Missal of 1962 (commonly known as the Tridentine Mass), was to be more easily permitted. Stable groups who previously had to petition their bishop to have a Tridentine Mass may now merely request permission from their local priest. While Summorum Pontificum directs that pastors should provide the Tridentine Mass upon the requests of the faithful, it also allows for any qualified priest to offer private celebrations of the Tridentine Mass, to which the faithful may be admitted if they wish. For regularly scheduled public celebrations of the Tridentine Mass, the permission of the priest in charge of the church is required.
Benedict XVI condemned excessive consumerism, especially among youth. He stated in December 2007 that "[A]dolescents, youths and even children are easy victims of the corruption of love, deceived by unscrupulous adults who, lying to themselves and to them, draw them into the dead-end streets of consumerism." In June 2009, he blamed outsourcing for greater availability of consumer goods which lead to downsizing of social security systems.
While visiting Brazil in May 2007, "the pope sparked controversy by saying that native populations had been 'silently longing' for the Christian faith brought to South America by colonizers." The Pope continued, stating that "the proclamation of Jesus and of his Gospel did not at any point involve an alienation of the pre-Columbus cultures, nor was it the imposition of a foreign culture." The then President of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez demanded an apology, and an indigenous organisation in Ecuador issued a response which stated that "representatives of the Catholic Church of those times, with honourable exceptions, were accomplices, deceivers and beneficiaries of one of the most horrific genocides of all humanity." Later, the Pope, speaking Italian, said at a weekly audience that it was "not possible to forget the suffering and the injustices inflicted by colonizers against the indigenous population, whose fundamental human rights were often trampled."
In 2007, Pope Benedict visited Brazil to address the Bishops' Conference there and canonize Friar Antônio Galvão, an 18th-century Franciscan. In June 2007, Benedict made a personal pilgrimage and pastoral visit to Assisi, the birthplace of St. Francis. In September, Benedict undertook a three-day visit to Austria, during which he joined Vienna's Chief Rabbi, Paul Chaim Eisenberg, in a memorial to the 65,000 Viennese Jews who perished in Nazi death camps. During his stay in Austria, he also celebrated Mass at the Marian shrine Mariazell and visited Heiligenkreuz Abbey.
In 2007, Benedict sent a letter at Easter to Catholics in China that could have wide-ranging implications for the church's relationship with China's leadership. The letter provides long-requested guidance to Chinese bishops on how to respond to illicitly ordained bishops, as well as how to strengthen ties with the Patriotic Association and the Communist government.
Pope Benedict XVI and Prime Minister Nguyễn Tấn Dũng met at the Vatican on 25 January 2007 in a "new and important step towards establishing diplomatic ties". The Pope met with President Nguyễn Minh Triết on 11 December 2009. Vatican officials called the meeting "a significant stage in the progress of bilateral relations with Vietnam."
He is also known to be fond of cats. As Cardinal Ratzinger he was known (according to former neighbours) to look after stray cats in his neighbourhood. A book called Joseph and Chico: A Cat Recounts the Life of Pope Benedict XVI was published in 2007 which told the story of the Pope's life from the feline Chico's perspective. This story was inspired by an orange tabby Pentling cat, which belonged to the family next door. During his trip to Australia for World Youth Day in 2008 the media reported that festival organizers lent the Pope a grey cat called Bella to keep him company during his stay.
The passage originally appeared in the Dialogue Held with a Certain Persian, the Worthy Mouterizes, in Anakara of Galatia written in 1391 as an expression of the views of the Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus, one of the last Christian rulers before the Fall of Constantinople to the Muslim Ottoman Empire, on such issues as forced conversion, holy war, and the relationship between faith and reason. According to the German text, the Pope's original comment was that the emperor "addresses his interlocutor in an astoundingly harsh—to us surprisingly harsh—way" (wendet er sich in erstaunlich schroffer, uns überraschend schroffer Form). Pope Benedict apologised for any offence he had caused and made a point of visiting Turkey, a predominantly Muslim country, and praying in its Blue Mosque. Benedict planned on 5 March 2008, to meet with Muslim scholars and religious leaders autumn 2008 at a Catholic-Muslim seminar in Rome. That meeting, the "First Meeting of the Catholic-Muslim Forum," was held from 4–6 November 2008. On 9 May 2009, Benedict visited the King Hussein Mosque, Amman, Jordan where he was addressed by Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad.
While visiting the United States on 17 April 2008, Benedict met with International Society for Krishna Consciousness representative Radhika Ramana Dasa; a noted Hindu scholar and disciple of Hanumatpreshaka Swami. On behalf of the Hindu American community, Radhika Ramana Dasa presented a gift of an Om symbol to Benedict.
In April 2008, Pope Benedict XVI made his first visit to the United States since becoming pope. He arrived in Washington, DC where he was formally received at the White House and met privately with U.S. President George W. Bush. While in Washington, the pope addressed representatives of US Catholic universities, met with leaders of other world religions, and celebrated Mass at the Washington Nationals' baseball stadium with 47,000 people. The Pope also met privately with victims of sexual abuse by priests. The Pope travelled to New York where he addressed the United Nations General Assembly. Also while in New York, the Pope celebrated Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral, met with disabled children and their families, and attended an event for Catholic youth, where he addressed some 25,000 young people in attendance. On the final day of the Pope's visit, he visited the World Trade Center site and later celebrated Mass at Yankee Stadium.
In July 2008, the Pope travelled to Australia to attend World Youth Day 2008 in Sydney. On 19 July, in St. Mary's Cathedral, he made an apology for child sex abuse perpetrated by the clergy in Australia. On 13 September 2008, at an outdoor Paris Mass attended by 250,000 people, Pope Benedict XVI condemned the modern materialism – the world's love of power, possessions and money as a modern-day plague, comparing it to paganism. In 2009, he visited Africa (Cameroon and Angola) for the first time as pope. During his visit, he suggested that altering sexual behavior was the answer to Africa's AIDS crisis, and urged Catholics to reach out and convert believers in sorcery. He visited the Middle East (Jordan, Israel and Palestine) in May 2009.
On 22 December 2008, the pope gave an end-of-year message to the Roman Curia in which he talked about gender and the important distinction between men and women. The pope said that the Church viewed the distinction as central to human nature, and "asks that this order of creation be respected". The Church, he said, must "protect man from self-destruction." He said "something like a human ecology" was needed, adding: "Rain forests deserve indeed to be protected, but no less so does man". He attacked gender theories which he described as "man's attempt at self-emancipation from creation and the Creator."
At the age of five, Ratzinger was in a group of children who welcomed the visiting Cardinal Archbishop of Munich, Michael von Faulhaber, with flowers. Struck by the cardinal's distinctive garb, he announced later that day that he wanted to be a cardinal. He attended the elementary school in Aschau am Inn, which was renamed in his honour in 2009.
On 17 July 2009, Benedict was hospitalized after falling and breaking his right wrist while on vacation in the Alps; his injuries were reported to be minor.
In May 2009, he visited Israel. This was the third Papal visit to the Holy Land, the previous ones being made by Pope Paul VI in 1964 and Pope John Paul II in 2000.
In 2009, the Pope intervened in global economic and political affairs with his third encyclical, Charity in Truth (Latin Caritas in veritate), which can be viewed on the Vatican's web site. This document set out the then reigning Pope's position on the case for worldwide redistribution of wealth in considerable detail and goes on to discuss the environment, migration, terrorism, sexual tourism, bioethics, energy and population issues. The Financial Times reported that Benedict XVI's advocacy for a fairer redistribution of wealth helped set the agenda for the 2009 July G8 summit.
Benedict is known to be deeply interested in classical music, and is an accomplished pianist. His favorite composer is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, of whose music he said: "His music is by no means just entertainment; it contains the whole tragedy of human existence." Benedict also stated that Mozart's music affected him greatly as a young man and "deeply penetrated his soul". Benedict's favorite works of music are Mozart's Clarinet Concerto and Clarinet Quintet. He recorded an album of contemporary classical music in which he sings and recites prayers to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The album was set for release on 30 November 2009.
On 19 September 2010, during his visit to the United Kingdom, Benedict personally proclaimed the beatification of John Henry Newman.
On 17 October 2010, Pope Benedict canonized André Bessette, a French-Canadian; Stanislaw Soltys, a 15th-century Polish priest; Italian nuns Giulia Salzano and Camilla Battista da Varano; Spanish nun Candida Maria de Jesus Cipitria y Barriola and the first Australian saint, Mother Mary MacKillop. On 23 October 2011, Pope Benedict XVI canonized three saints: a Spanish nun Bonifacia Rodríguez y Castro, Italian archbishop Guido Maria Conforti and Italian priest Luigi Guanella. In December 2011, Pope Benedict formally recognized the validity of the miracles necessary to proceed with the canonizations of Kateri Tekakwitha, who would be the first Native American saint, Marianne Cope, a nun working with lepers in what is now the state of Hawaii, Giovanni Battista Piamarta, an Italian priest, Jacques Berthieu, a French Jesuit priest and African martyr, Carmen Salles y Barangueras, a Spanish nun and founder of the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, Peter Calungsod, a lay catechist and martyr from the Philippines, and Anna Schäffer, whose desire to be a missionary was unfulfilled on account of her illness. They were canonized on 21 October 2012.
In March 2010, the Pope sent a Pastoral Letter to the Catholic Church in Ireland addressing cases of sexual abuse by Catholic priests to minors, expressing sorrow, and promising changes in the way accusations of abuse are dealt with. Victim groups claim the letter failed to clarify if secular law enforcement has priority over canon law confidentiality pertaining to internal investigation of abuse allegations. The Pope then promised to introduce measures that would "safeguard young people in the future" and "bring to justice" priests who were responsible for abuse. In April, the Vatican issued guidelines on how existing Church law should be implemented. The guideline dictates that "Civil law concerning reporting of crimes... should always be followed." The guideline was intended to follow the norms established by U.S. bishops, but it does not require the reporting of "allegations" or crimes where reporting is not required by law.
In November 2010, in a book-length interview, the pope, using the example of male prostitutes, stated that the use of condoms, with the intention of reducing the risk of HIV infection, may be an indication that the prostitute is intending to reduce the evil connected with his immoral activity. In the same interview, the pope also reiterated the traditional teaching of the Church that condoms are not seen as a "real or moral solution" to the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Further, in December 2010, the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith explained that the pope's statement did not constitute a legitimization of either contraception or prostitution, which remains gravely immoral.
On 7 October 2012, Pope Benedict XVI named Hildegard of Bingen and John of Avila Doctors of the Church, the 34th and 35th individuals so recognised in the history of Christianity.
During a 2012 Christmas speech, the pope made remarks about the present-day interpretation of the notion of "gender". He stated that "sex is no longer a given element of nature, that man has to accept and personally make sense of: it is a social role that we choose for ourselves", and "The words of the creation account: "male and female he created them" (Gen 1:27) no longer apply". Although he didn't mention the topic, his words were interpreted by news media as denunciations of same-sex marriage, with some sources adding that Benedict would have called it a threat to world peace similar to abortion and euthanasia. In March 2012, he stated that heterosexual marriages should be defended from "every possible misrepresentation of their true nature".
In December 2012, the Vatican announced that Pope Benedict XVI had joined social networking website Twitter, under the handle @Pontifex. His first tweet was made on 12 December and was "Dear friends, I am pleased to get in touch with you through Twitter. Thank you for your generous response. I bless all of you from my heart." On 28 February 2013, the day he retired, the tweets were archived, and @Pontifex read "Sede Vacante". Pope Francis eventually took control of the @Pontifex account upon his election.
At the time of his resignation, Benedict had completed a draft of a fourth encyclical entitled Lumen fidei ("The Light of Faith"), intended to accompany his first two encyclicals to complete a trilogy on the three theological virtues of faith, hope, and love. Benedict's successor, Pope Francis, completed and published Lumen Fidei in June 2013, four months after Benedict's retirement and Francis' succession. Although the encyclical is officially the work of Pope Francis, paragraph 7 of the encyclical explicitly expresses Francis' debt to Benedict: "These considerations on faith — in continuity with all that the Church's magisterium has pronounced on this theological virtue — are meant to supplement what Benedict XVI had written in his encyclical letters on charity and hope. He himself had almost completed a first draft of an encyclical on faith. For this I am deeply grateful to him, and as his brother in Christ I have taken up his fine work and added a few contributions of my own."
In 2013 it was reported that Benedict has multiple health problems including high blood pressure and reportedly has fallen out of bed more than once, but the Vatican denied any specific illnesses.
On 11 February 2013, the Vatican confirmed that Benedict XVI would resign the papacy on 28 February 2013, as a result of his advanced age, becoming the first pope to resign since Gregory XII in 1415. At the age of 85 years and 318 days on the effective date of his retirement, he was the fourth-oldest person to hold the office of pope. The move was unexpected. In modern times, all popes have held office until death. Benedict was the first pope to resign without external pressure since Celestine V in 1294.
On the morning of 28 February 2013, Pope Benedict met with the full College of Cardinals and in the early afternoon flew by helicopter to the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo. He stayed there until refurbishment was completed on his retirement home, the Mater Ecclesiae monastery in the Vatican Gardens near St Peter's, formerly home to 12 nuns, where he moved on 2 May 2013. To protect it, there is a thick hedge and a fence. It has a garden of more than 2,000 square meters that overlooks the monastery and is adjacent to the current "Pope's garden". A few tens of meters away is the building of Vatican Radio.
Benedict XVI made his first public appearance after his resignation at St. Peter's Basilica on 22 February 2014 to attend the first papal consistory of his successor Pope Francis. Benedict XVI, who entered the basilica through a discreet entrance, was seated in a row with several other cardinals. He doffed his zucchetto when Pope Francis came down the nave of St. Peter's Basilica to greet him. He then made an appearance at the canonization mass of Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II, greeting the cardinals and Pope Francis.
In August 2014, Benedict XVI celebrated Mass at the Vatican and met with his former doctoral students, an annual tradition he has kept since the 1970s. He attended the beatification of Pope Paul VI in October 2014. Weeks before this, he joined Pope Francis in Saint Peter's Square for an audience with grandparents to honor their importance in society.
Benedict XVI attended the consistory for new cardinals in February 2015, greeting Pope Francis at the beginning of the celebration. In 2015, Benedict spent the summer at Castel Gandolfo and participated in two public events. "Pope Francis invited Benedict XVI to spend some time in Castel Gandolfo in the month of July and Benedict accepted", Fr. Lombardi told journalists on 15 June. Benedict XVI remained there for two weeks. While in Castel Gandolfo, Benedict received two honorary doctorates, given to him by Kraków's Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, John Paul II's longtime aide, from the Pontifical University of John Paul II and the Kraków Academy of Music. In his reception address, Benedict paid homage to his predecessor, John Paul II.
The "Joseph Ratzinger–Benedict XVI Roman Library" at the Pontifical Teutonic College was announced in April 2015 and was scheduled to open to scholars in November 2015. The library section dedicated to his life and thought is being catalogued. It includes books by or about him and his studies, many donated by Benedict himself.
Benedict, in August 2015, submitted a handwritten card to act as a testimony to the cause of canonization of Pope John Paul I.
In 2015, it was reported that Benedict was "praying for migrants and refugees" from Syria.
In March 2016, he gave an interview expressing his views on mercy and endorsing Pope Francis's stress on mercy in his pastoral practice. Also that month, a Vatican spokesman stated that Benedict was "slowly, serenely fading" in his physical health, although his mental capacity remained "perfectly lucid".
The pope emeritus was honoured by the Roman Curia and Pope Francis in 2016 at a special audience, honouring the 65th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood. Benedict, later that year in November, did not attend the consistory for new cardinals, though he did meet with them and Pope Francis at his residence after the consistory had taken place.
On 28 June 2017, Benedict received the newly created cardinals in his chapel and "spoke with all of them in their native tongue" while also remarking that they were "from the four continents, the whole church". He further said that "The Lord wins in the end. Thank you all", he said, before giving them his blessing.
In July 2017, Benedict sent a message through his private secretary Monsignor Gänswein for the occasion of the funeral of Cardinal Joachim Meisner, who had suddenly died while on vacation in Germany. In his message, the Pope Emeritus referred to Meisner as a "passionate shepherd and pastor" who found it "difficult to leave his post". The former pope also said that he had spoken on the telephone with Meisner the day before the latter died and related that Meisner was grateful to be on vacation after having been present for the beatification of Teofilius Matulionis in Vilnius.
In November 2017, images emerged on the Facebook page of the Bishop of Passau Stefan Oster of Benedict with a black eye; the bishop and author Peter Seewald visited the former pope on 26 October since the pair were presenting Benedict with the new book Benedict XVI – The German Pope which the Passau diocese created. The former pope suffered the hematoma earlier after having slipped.
In November 2020, the Vatican published a report blaming not only Pope John Paul II, but also Benedict for allowing defrocked former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick to rise in power despite the fact that they both knew of sex abuse allegations against him. Despite the fact that Benedict pressured McCarrick to resign as Archbishop of Washington D.C. in 2006, McCarrick remained very active in ministry throughout Benedict's papacy and even made a very public appearance when he presided over U.S Senator Ted Kennedy's burial service at Arlington National Cemetery in 2009.
On 13 January 2020, Benedict published a book expressing his view that the Church must maintain its discipline of clerical celibacy, in light of ongoing debate on the issue.
In June 2020, Benedict visited his dying brother Georg in Germany for the last time.
Benedict became the longest-lived pope on 4 September 2020 at 93 years, 141 days, surpassing the age of Pope Leo XIII.
Pope's parents, Maria and Joseph Ratzinger, Sr. were harassed by Nazis. Pope returned home in 1945 after deserting his unit, but was arrested by Americans who had established a camp in his house and sent to a POW camp.
Currently, Pope Benedict XVI is 96 years, 1 months and 16 days old. Pope Benedict XVI will celebrate 97th birthday on a Tuesday 16th of April 2024. Below we countdown to Pope Benedict XVI upcoming birthday.
Francis Wishes Benedict XVI a Happy 87th Birthday - ZENIT - English
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