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Short biography of new pope

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Benedict_XVI His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, officially in Latin Benedictus PP. XVI, born Joseph Ratzinger on April 16, 1927,
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 19, 2005
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      His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, officially in Latin
      Benedictus PP. XVI, born Joseph Ratzinger on April 16,
      1927, was elected Pope of the Roman Catholic Church on
      April 19, 2005.

      In 1981 Cardinal Ratzinger was appointed prefect of
      the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith by Pope
      John Paul II, made a Cardinal Bishop of the episcopal
      see of Velletri-Segni in 1993, and was elected Dean of
      the College of Cardinals in 2002, becoming titular
      bishop of Ostia. He was already one of the most
      influential men in the Vatican and a close associate
      of the late Pope John Paul II before he became pope,
      and also presided over the funeral of John Paul II and
      the Conclave in 2005. During the sede vacante, he was
      the highest-ranking official in the Catholic Church.

      1 Early life and works
      2 Communio and later works
      3 Recent news and influence
      4 Literature
      5 See also
      6 External links

      Early life and works

      Joseph Ratzinger was born in Marktl am Inn, in
      Bavaria, the son of a police officer who was staunchly
      anti-Nazi. In 1937 Ratzinger's father retired and
      settled in the town of Traunstein. When Ratzinger
      turned 14 in 1941, he was required by law to join the
      Hitler Youth, but according to his biographer John
      Allen he was not an enthusiastic member. He requested
      to be taken off the rolls and reportedly refused to
      attend a single meeting. In 1943, at the age of 16 he
      was, along with the rest of his class, drafted into
      the Flak or anti-aircraft corps, responsible for the
      guarding of a BMW plant outside Munich. He was then
      sent for basic infantry training and was posted to
      Hungary, where he worked setting up anti-tank defences
      until fleeing in April 1944 (an offense punishable by
      death). In 1945 he was briefly held in an Allied POW
      camp, where he attended de-Nazification classes. By
      June he was released, and he and his brother (Georg)
      entered a Catholic seminary. On June 29, 1951, they
      were ordained by Cardinal Faulhaber of Munich. His
      dissertation (1953) was on Saint Augustine, his
      Habilitationsschrift (second dissertation) on Saint

      Ratzinger was a professor at the University of Bonn
      from 1959 until 1963, when he moved to the University
      of M�nster. In 1966, he took a chair in dogmatic
      theology at the University of T�bingen, where he was a
      colleague of Hans K�ng but was confirmed in his
      traditionalist views by the liberal atmosphere of
      T�bingen and the Marxist leanings of the student
      movement of the 1960s. In 1969 he returned to Bavaria,
      to the University of Regensburg.

      At the Second Vatican Council (1962 � 1965), Ratzinger
      served as a peritus or chief theological expert, to
      Josef Cardinal Frings of Cologne, Germany.

      Communio and later works

      In 1972, he founded the theological journal Communio
      (link (http://www.communio-icr.com/)) with Hans Urs
      von Balthasar, Henri de Lubac and others. Communio,
      now published in seventeen editions (German, English,
      Spanish and many others), has become one of the most
      important journals of Catholic thought.

      In March 1977 Ratzinger was named archbishop of Munich
      and Freising and in the consistory that June was named
      a Cardinal by Pope Paul VI. At 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 and so eligible to participate.

      On November 25, 1981 Pope John Paul II named Ratzinger
      prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the
      Faith, formerly known as the Holy Office of the
      Inquisition, which was renamed in 1908 by Pope Pius X.
      He resigned the Munich archdiocese in early 1982,
      became cardinal-bishop of Velletri-Segni in 1993,
      vice-dean of the College of Cardinals in 1998, and was
      elected Dean in 2002. In office, Ratzinger usually
      took conservative views on topics such as birth
      control and inter-religious dialogue. He was closer to
      John Paul II than any other cardinal, and Ratzinger
      and John Paul were called "intellectual bedfellows."
      Many see him as being a "scientist" who prefers
      intellectual discussions.

      Recent news and influence

      On January 2, 2005, Time quoted unnamed Vatican
      sources as saying that Ratzinger was a frontrunner to
      succeed John Paul II should the Pope die or become too
      ill to continue as Pontiff.

      Piers Paul Read wrote in The Spectactor on March 5,

      There can be little doubt that his courageous
      promotion of orthodox Catholic teaching has earned him
      the respect of his fellow cardinals throughout the
      world. He is patently holy, highly intelligent and
      sees clearly what is at stake. Indeed, for those who
      blame the decline of Catholic practice in the
      developed world precisely on the propensity of many
      European bishops to hide their heads in the sand, a
      pope who confronts it may be just what is required.
      Ratzinger is no longer young � he is 78 years old: but
      Angelo Roncalli was the same age when he became Pope
      as John XXIII. He turned the Church upside-down by
      calling the Second Vatican Council and was perhaps the
      best-loved pontiff of modern times. As Jeff Israely,
      the correspondent of Time, was told by a Vatican
      insider last month, "The Ratzinger solution is
      definitely on".

      However it is important to note that Ratzinger's
      election to the Papal office was by no means certain.
      In conclaves men who are considered papabile often are
      not elected to office. At times men considered certain
      to win the election did not win. This is expressed in
      the saying, "He who enters the conclave as Pope leaves
      as a Cardinal."

      Benedict was considered to be Pope John Paul II's
      "right hand man" and also one of his closest friends,
      and during the Pope's final illness, he carried out
      many of the Pope's functions as leader of the Catholic

      Benedict has repeatedly stated he would like to retire
      to a Bavarian village and dedicate himself to writing
      books, but more recently, he told friends he was ready
      to "accept any charge God placed on him." After the
      death of John Paul II on April 2, 2005 Ratzinger
      ceased functioning as Prefect of the Congregation for
      the Doctrine of the Faith. As he is now Pope, it will
      be up to him to decide who will follow him as Prefect
      of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

      Benedict speaks ten languages (among them German,
      Italian, English, and ecclesiastical Latin) and has
      received seven honorary doctorate degrees. He is an
      accomplished pianist with a preference for Mozart.

      He is the seventh German pope. The last German pope,
      Victor II, was elected in 1055 and died in 1057. He is
      also the oldest cardinal to become pope since Clement
      XII, who like Ratzinger was elected at age 78.

      In April, 2005, he was identified as one of the 100
      most influential people in the world by Time Magazine

      On April 19, 2005 he was elected as the successor to
      Pope John Paul II after two days of papal conclave.

      On his first appearance at the balcony of Saint
      Peter's Basillica after becoming Pope, he had notably
      forgotten to take his black sweater off before putting
      on his Papal robes, leaving it clearly showing on his
      arms. At the balcony, his first words to the crowd of
      thousands were:

      "Dear brothers and sisters, after the Great Pope John
      Paul II, the cardinals have elected me, a simple,
      humble worker in the Lord's vineyard. I am comforted
      by the fact that the Lord knows how to work and act
      even with insufficient instruments. And above all, I
      entrust myself to your prayers. With the joy of the
      risen Lord and confidence in his constant help, we
      will go forward. The Lord will help us and Mary, his
      most holy mother, will be alongside us. Thank you."

      "We are moving toward a dictatorship of relativism
      which does not recognize anything as definitive and
      has as its highest value one's own ego and one's own
      desires," he declared at a pre-conclave Mass in St.
      Peter's Basilica.


      * Allen, John L.: Cardinal Ratzinger : the Vatican's
      enforcer of the faith. - New York : Continuum, 2000
      * Wagner, Karl: Kardinal Ratzinger : der Erzbischof in
      M�nchen und Freising in Wort und Bild. - * M�nchen :
      Pfeiffer, 1977
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