Pope Benedict XVI
His Holiness Benedict XVI (Joseph Alois Ratzinger, born April 16, 1927, in Bavaria, Germany) is the current Pope (2005-2013) of the Roman Catholic Church. He succeeded Pope John Paul II. On February 11, 2013, he announced that he will resign the papacy on February 28, 2013, stating that his "strengths due to an advanced age are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry."
He was born in Marktl am Inn, Germany, on April 16, 1927. As a child, he lived in Traunstein where much of his philosophy developed. Ratzinger joined the Hitler Youth in 1939 - membership being required by law - but was unenthusiastic and refused to attend meetings. At the end of 1944, he was drafted into the German Army and assigned to the Traustein Garrison. He deserted in April or May 1945. Ratzinger's father opposed Nazism.
He studied at the higher School of Freising and the University of Munich, receiving a Doctor of Theology Degree in 1953.
He was ordained to the priesthood of the Catholic Church on June 29, 1951.
Appointment to the See of Munich
He was chosen to membership in the College of Cardinals by Pope Paul VI on June 27, 1977. He was thereafter known as Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. On November 25, 1981, Pope John Paul II named Cardinal Ratzinger "Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith", one of the major Curial institutions of the Holy See.
On November 6, 1998, Cardinal Ratzinger was elected Vice-Dean of the College of Cardinals. On November 30, 2002, he was elected Dean.
Accession to the Papacy
On April 2, 2005, John Paul II passed away. Following the prescribed mourning period, the College of Cardinals was summoned to the Vatican for the Papal Conclave. Cardinal Ratzinger was widely regarded as one of the strongest candidates for election to the papacy, both for his expertise in theological matters and his reputation as a conservative. On April 19, 2005, after a prior false signal, white smoke appeared at the chimney of the Sistine Chapel, signalling the election of a new pope. There were reports that several rounds of voting were needed before Ratzinger achieved the super majority that was required.
As in the past, the Cardinal Protodeacon, Jorge Cardinal Medina Estevez, appeared on the balcony and proclaimed the following;
Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum:
Eminentissimum ac reverendissimum Dominum,
Sanctæ Romanæ Ecclesiæ Cardinalem Ratzinger,
Qui sibi nomen imposuit Benedict XVI.
(I announce to you all a great joy:
We have a pope!
A most Eminent and Reverend Lord,
Cardinal Ratzinger, of the Holy Roman Church,
Who has imposed a name for himself: Benedict XVI.)
In April 2008, Pope Benedict XVI made his first visit to the United States. He celebrated mass in Washington, D.C. in a baseball stadium and then at the Cathedral of Saint Patrick and at Yankee Stadium in New York City. During this journey he became the first pope to visit an American synagogue.
The Vatican has expressed its desire to communicate to the world's 1 billion Catholics via the internet. The Pope has created the website Pope2You with applications geared toward Facebook, its YouTube video channel, iPhone apps and WikiCath. Presentation of the message says,
|“||Be sure to announce the Gospel to your contemporaries with enthusiasm. You know their fears and their hopes, their aspirations and their disappointments: the greatest gift you can give to them is to share with them the "Good News" of a God who became man, who suffered, died and rose again to save all people.||”|
- The Vatican
- Personal Flag and Arms of Benedict XVI
- Pastoral Letter to the Catholics of Ireland. Regarding child sexual abuse by members of the Church.
- Full text of Pope's declaration of resignation
- Pope Benedict XVI resigning on Feb. 28
- Blanco, Pablo. A Biography of Joseph Ratzinger.