Joseph Alois Ratzinger was
born on April 16, 1927 on Holy Saturday in Marktl am Inn, regio
Altötting in Bavaria, Germany. He was the son of Joseph
Ratzinger, police officer and Maria Peintner. His father
was anti-Nazi. His family was always devoutly Catholic. In 1939,
at the age of 12, he entered the minor seminary in Traunstein,
his first step toward the priesthood.
He enrolled and served
in the Hitler Youth, a Nazi Youth organization at the age of
fourteen. This was a mandatory membership for all German high
school students during that time period (1939-1945). Joseph
Ratzinger deserted the army in 1944 showing his disdain for
Nazism. In 1945 he re-entered the seminary. He studied
philosophy and theology at the University of Munich and at
Freising from 1946 to 1951. On June 29, 1951, he was ordained by
Cardinal Faulhaber of Munich, in the Cathedral at Freising.
Joseph Ratzinger spent
much of his career as a theology professor at universities in
Germany. He was named Archbishop of Munich and Freising March
24, 1977, and made a cardinal by Pope Paul VI, June 27,
1977. In 1981, Ratzinger was named Prefect of the Congregation
for the Doctrine of the Faith, the organization which until 1965
had been called the Holy Office of the Inquisition, making him
He resigned the Munich
archdiocese in early 1982. Already a cardinal priest, he was
raised to Cardinal Bishop of Velletri-Segni in 1993. He became
vice-dean of the College of Cardinals in 1998, and dean in 2002.
On April 19, 2005 Cardinal Ratzinger was elected as the
successor to Pope John Paul II on the second day of the papal
conclave after four ballots. Cardinal 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."
the balcony, Benedict's first words to the crowd, before he
gave the traditional Urbi et Orbi blessing, were:
The choice of the name
Benedict (Latin "the blessed") is significant. Benedict XVI used
his first General Audience in St. Peter's Square, on April 27,
2005, to explain to the world on why he chose the name:
brothers and sisters, after the great Pope John Paul II, the
Cardinals have elected me, a simple and humble labourer in
the vineyard of the Lord.
The fact that the Lord knows how to work and to act even
with inadequate instruments comforts me, and above all I
entrust myself to your prayers.
In the joy of the Risen Lord, let us move forward, confident
of his unfailing help. The Lord will help us and Mary, his
Most Holy Mother, will be on our side. Thank you.
with sentiments of awe and thanksgiving, I wish to speak of
why I chose the name Benedict. Firstly, I remember Pope
Benedict XV, that courageous prophet of peace, who guided
the Church through turbulent times of war. In his footsteps
I place my ministry in the service of reconciliation and
harmony between peoples.
Additionally, I recall Saint Benedict of Norcia, co-patron
of Europe, whose life evokes the Christian roots of Europe.
I ask him to help us all to hold firm to the centrality of
Christ in our Christian life: May Christ always take first
place in our thoughts and actions!
XVI Says He Will Resign
New York Times - February 11, 2013
ROME — Citing advanced years and infirmity, Pope Benedict
XVI stunned the Roman Catholic world on Monday by saying
that he would resign on Feb. 28 after less than eight years
in office, the first pope to do so in six centuries. In the
period between the resignation and the election of the new
pope, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, currently Benedict’s
Secretary of State, will act as a caretaker leader of the
Pope Benedict XVI arrived by helicopter Thursday February
28, 2013, at Castel Gandolfo near Rome shortly before he
officially resigns his eight-year papacy at 1900 GMT.
The helicopter arrived at 1624 GMT at the lakeside town
where he will reside in the summer papal palace for the
first two months of his retirement.
for Pope Benedict XVI
Please pray for
Pope Benedict XVI to be a great leader and follow
the will of God.
Please Lord give Pope Benedict XVI wisdom, guidance,
and love so he can be a good shepard for Your
people. Let the Holy Spirit provide him with a
caring and wise heart. Give him courage to always
make the right decision. Help him to steer the Roman
Catholic Church in the right direction. We ask these
things through Jesus Christ, Our Lord, who lives and
reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God forever
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