Pope Benedict XVI

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Template:Infobox pope His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI (Latin: Benedictus PP. XVI; born April 16, 1927 as Joseph Alois Ratzinger in Marktl am Inn, Bavaria) is the 265th and reigning pope, the head of the Roman Catholic Church and sovereign of Vatican City. He was elected on April 19, 2005, in a papal conclave over which he presided in his capacity as dean of the College of Cardinals. He was formally enthroned during the Rite of Papal Inauguration on April 24, 2005.

One of the most influential academical theologians since the 1960s, he is viewed as conservative and a close ally of his predecessor. He served as Archbishop of Munich, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and Dean of the College of Cardinals before becoming Pope.

The Pope particularly stresses the need for Europe to turn back to its fundamental values, facing increasing de-christianisation in many developed countries.



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Pope Benedict XVI

Benedict XVI was elected pope at the age of 78. He is the oldest person to have been elected pope since Clement XII in 1730. He served longer as a cardinal before being elected pope than any pope since Benedict XIII (elected 1724). He is the eighth German pope, the last being the Dutch-German Adrian VI (15221523). The last Pope Benedict, Benedict XV, was an Italian who served as pope from 1914 to 1922 and reigned during World War I.

Ratzinger was born in Bavaria, Germany. He had a distinguished career as a university theologian before being made the archbishop of Munich; he was subsequently made a cardinal by Pope Paul VI in the consistory of June 27, 1977. He was appointed as the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith by Pope John Paul II in 1981 and was made the cardinal bishop of the suburbicarian diocese of Velletri-Segni on April 5, 1993. In 1998, he was made the sub-dean of the College of Cardinals; later, on November 30, 2002, he became the dean and simultaneously the cardinal bishop of the suburbicarian diocese of Ostia. He was the first dean of the college elected pope since Paul IV in 1555 and the first cardinal bishop elected pope since Pius VIII in 1829.

Before becoming pope, Cardinal Ratzinger was already one of the most influential men in the Vatican, and was a close associate of the late John Paul II. He presided over the funeral of John Paul II and also over the Mass immediately preceding the 2005 conclave in which he was elected, in which he called on the assembled cardinals to hold fast to the doctrine of the faith. He was the public face of the church in much of the sede vacante period, although he ranked below the camerlengo in administrative authority during that time.

Benedict XVI's views appear to be similar to those of his predecessor in maintaining the traditional Catholic doctrines on birth control, abortion, and homosexuality, and in promoting Catholic social teaching.

Benedict speaks several languages, including German, Italian and French fluently, as well as (less fluently) English, Spanish and Latin. He can read Old Greek and (Classical) Hebrew. He is a member of a large number of academies, like the French Acadmie des sciences morales et politiques. He plays the piano and has a preference for Mozart and Beethoven.

Early life (1927–1951)

Main article: Early life of Pope Benedict XVI

Background and childhood (1927–1943)

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Ratzinger was born at a house in Marktl am Inn which survives today.
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Ratzinger studied at Saint Michael Seminary in Traunstein, Germany.

Joseph Alois Ratzinger was born on Holy Saturday, at Schulstrasse 11, his parents' home in Marktl am Inn, Bavaria. He was the third and youngest child of Joseph Ratzinger, Sr., a police officer, and his wife, Maria Ratzinger (nee Peintner), who worked as a barmaid, and whose family were from South Tyrol (today part of Italy). His father served in both the Bavarian State Police (Landespolizei) and the German national Regular Police (Ordnungspolizei) before retiring in 1937 to the town of Traunstein. The Sunday Times of London described the elder Ratzinger as "an anti-Nazi whose attempts to rein in Hitler's Brown Shirts forced the family to move several times." Template:Ref. According to the International Herald Tribune, these relocations were directly related to Joseph Ratzinger, Sr.'s continued resistance to Nazism, which resulted in demotions and transfers. Template:Ref The pope's brother Georg said: "Our father was a bitter enemy of Nazism because he believed it was in conflict with our faith." Template:Ref.

Pope Benedict's brother, Georg, is still living. His sister, Maria Ratzinger, who never married, managed her brother Joseph's household until her death in 1991. Their grand uncle Georg Ratzinger was a priest and member of the Reichstag, as the German Parliament was called then. The future pope's relatives agree that his ambitions to reside in the upper echelons of the Church were apparent since childhood. At five years old, Ratzinger was in a group of children who presented the archbishop of Munich with flowers; later that day he announced he wanted to be a cardinal. (See also Early life of Pope Benedict XVI.)

According to his cousin Erika Kopp, Ratzinger had no desire from childhood to be anything other than a priest. When he was 15, she says, he announced that he was going to be a bishop, whereupon she playfully remarked, 'And why not Pope?'.

When Ratzinger turned 14 he was forced by law to join the Hitler Youth (membership was legally required since December 1936Template:Ref.) According to the National Catholic Reporter correspondent and biographer John Allen, Ratzinger was an unenthusiastic member who refused to attend meetings. Ratzinger has mentioned that a Nazi mathematics professor arranged reduced tuition payments for him at seminary. This normally required documentation of attendance at Hitler Youth activities; however, according to Ratzinger, his professor arranged so that he did not need to attend to receive a scholarship.

Military service (1943–1945)

In 1943, when he was 16, Ratzinger was drafted with many of his classmates into the FlaK (anti-aircraft artillery corps). They were guarding various facilities including a BMW aircraft engine plant north of Munich and, later, the jet fighter base at Gilching, where Ratzinger served in telephone communications. After his class was released from the Corps in September 1944, Ratzinger was put to work setting up anti-tank defences in the Hungarian border area of Austria in preparation for the expected Red Army offensive. When his unit was released from service in November 1944, he went home for three weeks, and then was drafted into the German army at Munich to receive basic infantry training in the nearby town of Traunstein. His unit served at various posts around the city and was never sent to the front.

In late April or early May, days or weeks before the German surrender, Ratzinger deserted. Desertion was widespread during the last weeks of the war, even though punishable by death (executions, frequently extrajudicial, continued to the end); diminished morale and the greatly diminished risk of prosecution from a preoccupied and disorganized German military contributed to the growing wave of soldiers looking toward self-preservation. On his way home he ran into soldiers on guard, but they let him go. When the Americans arrived in the village, they arrested all who had served in the German army. Ratzinger was briefly interned in a prisoner-of-war camp near Ulm and was repatriated on June 19, 1945. The family was reunited when his brother, Georg, returned after being released from a prisoner-of-war camp in Italy.

Education (1946–1951)

After he was repatriated in 1945, he and his brother entered Saint Michael Seminary in Traunstein, and then studied at the Ducal Georgianum (Herzogliches Georgianum) of the Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich. According to an interview with Peter Seewald, he and his fellow students were particularly influenced by the works of Gertrud von le Fort, Ernst Wiechert, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Elisabeth Langgsser, Theodor Steinbchel, Martin Heidegger and Karl Jaspers. The young Ratzinger saw the last three in particular as a break with the dominance of Neo-Kantianism, with the key work being Steinbchel's Die Wende des Denkens ("The Change in Thinking"). By the end of his studies he was drawn more to the active Saint Augustine than to Thomas Aquinas, and among the scholastics he was more interested in Saint Bonaventure.

On June 29, 1951, he and his brother were ordained by Michael Cardinal von Faulhaber of Munich. His dissertation (1953) was on Saint Augustine, entitled "The People and the House of God in Augustine's Doctrine of the Church," and his Habilitationsschrift (a dissertation which serves as qualification for a professorship) was on Saint Bonaventure. It was completed in 1957 and he became a professor of Freising College in 1958.

Early church career (1951–1981)

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Ratzinger as a young priest celebrates mass in Ruhpolding, Germany in 1952.
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Ratzinger offers an oath of submission at the September 1978 papal inauguration of John Paul I.
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Ratzinger is given a formal farewell as he leaves the Archdiocese of Munich to become the new Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on February 28, 1982.
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Ratzinger with John Paul II in 2003.
Ratzinger debates with German philosopher Jrgen Habermas at the Catholic Academy of Bavaria, Germany in 2004.
Ratzinger debates with German philosopher Jrgen Habermas at the Catholic Academy of Bavaria, Germany in 2004.

Ratzinger became a professor at the University of Bonn in 1959; his inaugural lecture was on "The God of Faith and the God of Philosophy." In 1963 he moved to the University of Münster, where his inaugural lecture was given in a packed lecture hall, as he was already well known as a theologian. At the Second Vatican Council (19621965), Ratzinger served as a peritus or theological consultant to Josef Cardinal Frings of Cologne, Germany, and has continued to defend the council, including Nostra Aetate, the document on respect of other religions and the declaration of the right to religious freedom. He was viewed during the time of the council as a reformer. (Later, as the Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Ratzinger most clearly spelled out the Catholic Church's position on other religions in the document Dominus Iesus (2000) which also talks about the proper way to engage in ecumenical dialogue.)

In 1966, he took 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 downplayed the centrality of the papacy. He also wrote that the church of the time was too centralized, rule-bound and overly controlled from Rome. These sentences, however, did not appear in later editions of the book. During this time, he distanced himself from the atmosphere of Tübingen and the Marxist leanings of the student movement of the 1960s, that in Germany 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 (decreasing respect for authority among his students, the rise of the German gay rights movement) as related to a departure from traditional Catholic teachings. Increasingly, his views, despite his reformist bent, contrasted with those liberal ideas gaining currency in the theological academy.Template:Ref In 1969 he returned to Bavaria, to the University of Regensburg.

In 1972, he founded the theological journal Communio with Hans Urs von Balthasar, Henri de Lubac, Walter Kasper 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. He remains one of the journal's most prolific contributors.

In March 1977 Ratzinger was named archbishop of Munich and Freising. According to his autobiography, Milestones, he took as his episcopal motto Cooperatores Veritatis, co-workers of the Truth, from 3 John: 8.

In the consistory of June 1977 he was named a cardinal 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 and thus eligible to participate in that conclave.

Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (1981–2005)

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. 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.

In office, Ratzinger usually took traditional views on topics such as birth control, homosexuality, and inter-religious dialogue. Among other things, he played a key role in silencing outspoken liberation theologians and clergy in Latin America in the 1980s.

(See also Theology of Pope Benedict XVI.)


In the early 1990s Ratzinger suffered a stroke which slightly impaired his eyesight. The existence of the stroke had been known during the conclave that elected him pope. In May 2005, the Vatican revealed that he had subsequently suffered another mild stroke - it did not reveal when, other than that it occurred between 2003 and 2005. France's Philippe Cardinal Barbarin further revealed that since the first stroke, Ratzinger has suffered from a heart condition. Because of his health problems, Ratzinger had hoped to retire, but had continued in his position in obedience to the wishes of Pope John Paul II.Template:Ref

Response to sex abuse scandal

Regarding the Roman Catholic Church sex abuse scandal, he was seen by critics as at best, indifferent to the abuse and at worst, complicit in covering it up, both in specific cases and as a matter of policy. As Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), such abuses were ultimately his responsibility to investigate within the Church until 2001, when that charge was given to the CDF by Pope John Paul. Template:Ref

On May 18, 2001, Ratzinger, as part of the implementation of the norms enacted and promulgated Template:Ref on April 30 2001 by Pope John Paul II, sent a Latin language letter Template:Ref to every bishop in the Catholic Church reminding them of the strict penalties facing those who revealed confidential details concerning enquiries into allegations against priests of certain grave ecclesiastical crimes, including sexual abuse, reserved to the jurisdiction of the CDF. The letter extended the prescription (statute of limitations) for these crimes to ten years. However, when the crime is sexual abuse of a minor, the "prescription begins to run from the day on that which the minor completes the eighteenth year of age." Template:Ref Lawyers acting for two alleged victims of abuse in Texas claim that by sending the letter the cardinal conspired to obstruct justice. Template:Ref However, the letter did not discourage victims from reporting the abuse itself to the police; the secrecy related to the internal investigation. "The letter said the new norms reflected the CDF's traditional “exclusive competence” regarding delicta graviora—Latin for “graver offenses.” According to canon law experts in Rome, reserving cases of clerical sexual abuse of minors to the CDF is something new. In past eras, some serious crimes by priests against sexual morality, including pedophilia, were handled by that congregation or its predecessor, the Holy Office, but this has not been true in recent years." Template:Ref The promulgation of the norms by Pope John Paul II and the subsequent letter by the then Prefect of the CDF were published in 2001 in Acta Apostolicae Sedis Template:Ref which, in accordance with the Code of Canon Law Template:Ref, is the Holy See's official journal, disseminated monthly to thousands of libraries and offices around the world. Template:Ref

In 2002, Ratzinger told the Catholic News Service that "less than one percent of priests are guilty of acts of this type." Template:Ref Opponents saw this as ignoring the crimes of those who committed the abuse; others saw it as merely pointing out that this should not taint other priests who live respectable lives. Template:Ref A report by the Catholic Church itself estimated that some 4,450 of the Roman Catholic clergy who served between 1950 and 2002 have faced credible accusations of abuse. Template:Ref His Good Friday reflections in 2005 were interpreted as strongly condemning and regretting the abuse scandals, which largely put to rest the speculation of indifference. Shortly after his election, he told Francis Cardinal George, the Archbishop of Chicago, that he would attend to the matter. Template:Ref

Dialogue with other faiths

In 2000, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a document entitled Dominus Iesus, which generated much controversy. Some religious groups took offense to wild claims regarding the document, that supposedly stated that, "only in the Catholic Church is there eternal salvation."Template:Ref However, this statement appears nowhere in the document. Like his speech, "Relativism: The Central Problem for Faith Today," the document condemned "relativistic theories" of religious pluralism and described other faiths as "gravely deficient" in the means of salvation. The document was primarily aimed at reining in liberal Catholic theologians like Jacques Dupuis, who argued that other religions could contain God-given means of salvation not found in the Church of Christ, but it offended many religious leaders. Jewish religious leaders boycotted several interfaith meetings in protest.

A remarkable but unappreciated aspect of Dominus Iesus can be found in the official Latin text (http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20000806_dominus-iesus_lt.html), in which the famous "filioque" clause ("and the Son") is quietly omitted. The changed Latin sentence reads "Et in Spiritum Sanctum (...), qui ex Patre procedit" ("and in the Holy Spirit (...), who proceeds from the Father") instead of "qui ex Patre Filioque procedit" ("who proceeds from the Father and the Son"). The filioque clause has been a source of conflict between the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Church for about one thousand years. Leaving it out may be seen as Ratzinger's attempt to reach a hand across the theological/historical chasm separating Eastern and Western Churches.

Already in 1987, Cardinal Ratzinger had stated that Jewish history and scripture reach fulfillment only in Christ—a position critics denounced as "theological anti-Semitism," although it is very much in the general tradition of Christian views of the Old Testament and the Jews. Despite this, groups such as the World Jewish Congress commended his election as Pope as "welcome" and extolled his "great sensitivity".Template:Ref

Though his advent was congratulated by Buddhist leaders around the world,Template:Ref critics remembered that in March 1997 Cardinal Ratzinger predicted that Buddhism would over the coming century replace Marxism as the main "enemy" of the Catholic Church. Some also criticized him for calling Buddhism an "autoerotic spirituality" that offered "transcendence without imposing concrete religious obligations" Template:Ref, though that might be a mistranslation from the French auto-erotisme, which more properly translates to self-absorption, or narcissism Template:Ref. Also the quote did not address Buddhism as such, but rather about how Buddhism "appears" to those Europeans who are using it to obtain some type of self-satisfying spiritual experience.Template:Ref

In an interview in 2004 for Le Figaro magazine, Ratzinger said Turkey, a country Muslim by heritage and staunchly secularist by its state constitution, should seek its future in an association of Islamic nations rather than the EU, which has Christian roots. He said Turkey had always been "in permanent contrast to Europe" and that linking it to Europe would be a mistake.Template:Ref

His defenders argue that it is to be expected that a leader within the Catholic Church would forcefully and explicitly argue in favor of the superiority of Catholicism over other religions. Others also maintain that single quotes from Dominus Iesus are not indicative of intolerance or an unwillingness to engage in dialogue with other faiths, and this is clear from a reading of the entire document. They point out that Ratzinger has been very active in promoting inter-faith dialogue. Specifically, they argue that Ratzinger has been instrumental at encouraging reconciliation with Lutherans. In defending Dominus Iesus, Ratzinger himself has stated that his belief is that inter-faith dialogue should take place on the basis of equal human dignity, but that equality of human dignity should not imply that each side is equally correct.


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Not knowing that within a few weeks he would ascend the Throne of St. Peter himself, Ratzinger presided over the 2005 Easter Vigil Mass at St. Peter's Basilica in place of Pope John Paul II.

Election to the Papacy


On January 2, 2005, Time magazine 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 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 magazine. Ratzinger himself had 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."

Piers Paul Read wrote in The Spectator on March 5, 2005:

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, who revolutionized Catholicism by calling the Second Vatican Council was almost the same age (76) when he became pope as John XXIII. As Jeff Israely, the correspondent of Time, was told by a Vatican insider last month, "The Ratzinger solution is definitely on."

However, Papal predictions in modern history had usually been wrong, with the most popular candidates often losing the election in favor of a more unknown, obscure cardinal. For example following the death of Pope Paul VI many in the media predicted the next pope would be a non-Italian, only to have this prediction proven wrong with the election of Albino Luciani as John Paul I. Likewise, when John Paul died many predicted his successor would in turn be another Italian, yet this also was proven wrong with the election of the Polish Karol Wojtyła.


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Benedict XVI appears on the balcony shortly after his election.
With a tapestry bearing the coat of arms of John Paul II hanging over the balcony, Benedict XVI is introduced to the crowd gathered in Saint Peter's Square.
With a tapestry bearing the coat of arms of John Paul II hanging over the balcony, Benedict XVI is introduced to the crowd gathered in Saint Peter's Square.

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. Coincidentally, April 19 is the feast of St. Leo IX, a German pope and saint.

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." Template:Ref

Before his first appearance at the balcony of Saint Peter's Basilica after becoming pope, he was announced by Jorge Cardinal Medina Estvez, the protodeacon of the College of Cardinals. Cardinal Medina Estvez first addressed the massive crowd as "dear(est) brothers and sisters" in Italian, Spanish, French, German and English — each language receiving cheers from the international crowd — before continuing in Latin.

At the balcony, Benedict's first words to the crowd, before he gave the traditional Urbi et Orbi blessing, were:

Dear 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. (translation from original Italian).

He then gave the blessing to the people.

Choice of name

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:

"Filled 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!" Template:Ref

Early days of Papacy

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Papal Arms of Pope Benedict XVI. The papal tiara was replaced with a bishop's mitre, and pallium of the Pope was added beneath the coat of arms.

Pope Benedict has confounded the expectations of many in the early days of his papacy by his gentle public persona and his promise to listen. It is notable that he has used an open popemobile, saying that he wants to be closer to the people.

Benedict's coat of arms have officially omitted the papal tiara, traditionally appearing in the background to designate the Pope's position and replaced it with a simple mitre.Template:Ref However, there have been papal documents since his inauguration that have been appearing with the papal tiara present. Since it is the shield and not the background which is unique to the individual Pope, various backgrounds are possible (though rarely used) for even a single shield.

During his inaugural Mass, the previous custom of all the cardinals submitting was replaced by having 12 people, representing cardinals, clergy, religious, a married couple and their child, and newly confirmed people, submit to him. However, all the cardinals had already sworn their obedience upon his election. In a return to tradition, Benedict chose to resurrect the ancient tradition of the red papal shoes and to delegate the celebration of the beatification liturgies.

In an address to a conference of the Diocese of Rome held at St. John Lateran basilica on June 6, 2005, Benedict remarked on the issues of same-sex marriage and abortion:

"The various forms of the dissolution of matrimony today, like free unions, trial marriages and going up to pseudo-matrimonies by people of the same sex, are rather expressions of an anarchic freedom that wrongly passes for true freedom of man...from here it becomes all the more clear how contrary it is to human love, to the profound vocation of man and woman, to systematically close their union to the gift of life, and even worse to suppress or tamper with the life that is born," he said.Template:Ref

Curial appointments

Upon becoming Pope, Benedict reappointed all former officers of the Roman Curia under John Paul II to new terms. This assured an easy transition into new government. The highest of those appointments are those considered to be Benedict XVI's prime ministers: Angelo Cardinal Sodano of Italy who serves as Secretary of State and Edmund Cardinal Szoka of the United States who serves as Governor of Vatican City.

Benedict XVI's only major new appointment was that of his successor as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Early speculation included the names of Christoph Cardinal Schnborn, prelate archbishop of the Archdiocese of Vienna in Austria and Francis Cardinal George, prelate archbishop of the Archdiocese of Chicago in the United States. Both were renowned for their knowledge of Church doctrine and were considered among the more conservative members of the College of Cardinals.

On May 13, 2005, Benedict XVI appointed a non-Cardinal, William Joseph Levada, prelate archbishop of the Archdiocese of San Francisco in the United States. Renowned for his knowledge of Church doctrine due to his office as principal editor of the current Catechism of the Catholic Church, Levada is considered by some to be even more staunchly conservative than all the Pope's choices within the College of Cardinals. Levada relinquishes his see in San Francisco on August 17, 2005 and is expected to be raised in consistory to the title of Cardinal.

Due to the immense influence wielded by the office of Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith — arguably more immense than that of the Pope's own prime ministers — Benedict XVI's appointment of an American in effect raises the United States into greater prominence in the universal Church. That fact sparked many fears that the United States was being given too much power in the Church; people worldwide generally express uneasiness considering that the United States already dominates global politics. It is because of that reason that Americans are never considered papabile.


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Benedict XVI oversaw his first beatification on May 14, 2005, honoring Mother Marianne Cope of Hawaii with the title Blessed. He wore a traditional Hawaiian maile lei as a stole for the occasion.

On May 13, 2005, Benedict XVI made his first promulgation of the beatification process. The honoree of the process was his predecessor, John Paul II. Normally five years pass before the beatification process begins for a person after his or her death but due to the popularity of John Paul II — devotees chanted "Santo subito!" meaning "Saint now!" during the late pontiff's funeral — Benedict XVI waived the custom and officially styled the late pope with the title given to all those being scrutinized in the beatification process, Servant of God.

Upon the confirmation after scrutiny that the late pontiff's life is found morally clean and manifests heroic virtues, a decree of heroicity will be proclaimed and John Paul II will be declared Venerable on the road to beatification. Before changes in canon law in 1917, the title Venerable was given at the same time a person was declared Servant of God. Upon the confirmation of miracles attributed to the honoree, John Paul II would then be declared Blessed. A person is strictly prohibited from being officially celebrated in Mass until he or she achieves the title of Blessed.

The next day, on May 14, Benedict XVI made his first official beatification, raising Mother Marianne Cope — who served with Blessed Damien of Molokai helping those suffering from leprosy in what is now the Diocese of Honolulu in Hawaii — to the title of "Blessed Marianne of Molokai." She was the first addition to the calendar of saints by Benedict XVI announcing an optional feast to be celebrated in her honor annually on January 23. Blessed Damien and Blessed Marianne are the patrons of HIV/AIDS and outcasts. Both are expected to become the first saints of the Hawaiian Islands. Mother Ascensin Nicol Goi was also beatified on the same day.

Unlike his predecessor, Benedict XVI delegated the beatification liturgical service to a principal aide, Jos Cardinal Saraiva Martins, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. It was noted by Vatican watchers that the practice of delegating prominent functions enjoyed by the late John Paul II would become the norm for Benedict XVI, who seems to prefer the duties of Church manager as opposed to having more of a public face. This may also reflect the need for Benedict to maintain a more restricted public appearance schedule, due to his recent health history, which may be described as resulting from age related illnesses.

On June 16, 2005, it was learned that the planned beatification of a French priest, the Rev. Leon Dehon, had been suspended by the Vatican after complaints about anti-Semitism in his writings. The Vatican decided to further study the life and writings of the Fr. Dehon, who died in 1925 and who had founded the priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus religious order. The beatification was postponed originally due to the death of Pope John Paul II on April 2, 2005. The move came after a French Catholic newspaper, La Croix, reported that some of his writings contained anti-Semitic passages. La Croix quoted his writings as saying Jews were "united in their hatred of Jesus" and were enemies of Christians, and that anti-Semitism was a "sign of hope."

The possibility of making Fr. Dehon a saint has been under consideration by the church for decades. The process began formally in 1939. The church declared his virtues in 1983, and John Paul gave him the title "venerable" in 1997 after the church ruled that an electrician in Brazil had been miraculously cured of an illness in 1954 after prayers were directed to him. However, France's government had put the Vatican on notice that it would not send a representative to the beatification, and the French bishops' conference urged the Vatican to act with caution, according to French newspaper reports. Template:Ref.

For many in the Catholic community who had been concerned about the rapidity of the beatification process during the reign of Pope John Paul II, this incident seemed to indicate that the management of the practice of making saints will be more measured and, possibly, less inclined to speed up the process.


The first Mass of Canonization for Benedict XVI is scheduled for October 23, 2005 in St. Peter's Square. Benedict XVI will bestow the honor of the title of Saint to: Józef Bilczewski of Poland and Ukraine, Archbishop of Lviv (Lwów); Gaetano Catanoso of Italy, priest and founder of the Congregation of the Daughters of St. Veronica (also known as the Missionaries of the Holy Face); Zygmunt Gorazdowski of Poland and Ukraine, priest and founder of the Congregation of Sisters of St. Joseph; Alberto Hurtado Cruchaga of Chile, priest of the Society of Jesus, and Felice Da Nicosia of Italy, lay member of the Capuchins.

See also

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  2. Template:Note Richard Bernstein, and Mark Landler, "A cardinal's visit put boy on path to the Vatican (http://www.iht.com/articles/2005/04/21/news/portrait.html)," New York Times, April 22, 2005.
  3. Template:Note Richard Bernstein, and Mark Landler, "A future pope is recalled: A lover of cats and Mozart, dazzled by church as a boy (http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/22/international/worldspecial2/22germany.html?pagewanted=1&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1114340564-13zVUfWUfsfMLXhqWFxrDA)," New York Times, April 22, 2005.
  4. Template:Note "Hitler Youth: Prelude to War (1933–1938) (http://www.historyplace.com/worldwar2/hitleryouth/hj-prelude.htm)," The History Place.
  5. Template:Note Daniel J Wakin, "Turbulence on Campus in 60's Hardened Views of Future Pope (http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/24/international/worldspecial2/24ratzinger.html?position=&incamp=article_popular_5&pagewanted=print&position=)," New York Times, April 24, 2005 (accessed June 8, 2005)
  6. Template:Note "Pope has had second stroke" (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2089-1592856,00.html), The Sunday Times, (London) May 1, 2005.
  7. Template:Note Jamie Doward, "The Pope, the letter and the child sex claim (http://observer.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,6903,1469005,00.html)," The Guardian, April 24, 2005.
  8. Template:Note Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela (http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/motu_proprio/documents/hf_jp-ii_motu-proprio_20020110_sacramentorum-sanctitatis-tutela_lt.html), The Vatican, April 30, 2001.
  9. Template:Note Epistula ad totius Catholicae Ecclesiae Episcopos aliosque Ordinarios et Hierarchas interesse habentes de delictis gravioribus eidem Congregationi pro Doctrina Fidei reservatis (http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20010518_epistula_graviora%20delicta_lt.html), The Vatican, May 18, 2001.
  10. Template:Note www.bishop-accountability.org (http://www.bishop-accountability.org/resources/resource-files/churchdocs/SacramentorumAndNormaeEnglish.htm) Unofficial translation of Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela by the USCCB and a translation of the Norms by Gregory Ingels, both revised by Joseph R. Punderson and Charles J. Scicluna. The new norms (like the American norms) consider a minor to be anyone under the age of 18—a wider definition than in the Code of Canon Law, where minors are below the age of 16.
  11. Template:Note Jamie Doward, "Pope 'obstructed' sex abuse inquiry (http://observer.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,6903,1469055,00.html)," The Guardian, April 24, 2005.
  12. Template:Note "Signs of the Times: Doctrinal Congregation Takes Over Priestly Pedophilia Cases (http://www.americamagazine.org/catholicnews.cfm?articleTypeID=29&textID=1352&issueID=355)", Catholic News Service, December 17, 2001.
  13. Template:Note Acta Apostolicae Sedis 93 (2001): 737–39, 785–88.
  14. Template:Note Code of Canon Law: Canon 8, 1 (http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/__P3.HTM), The Vatican.
  15. Template:Note CanonLaw.info (http://mywebpages.comcast.net/enpeters/blog.htm), April 29, 2005 update to Much Ado About Nothing by Dr Edward Peters, JCD, JD
  16. Template:Note "Cardinal Ratzinger ... Sees Agenda Behind the Reporting in U.S. (http://www.zenit.org/english/visualizza.phtml?sid=28487)," Zenit News Agency, December 3, 2002.
  17. Template:Note Vatican Transcript of Meditation on the Ninth Station of the Cross (http://www.vatican.va/news_services/liturgy/2005/via_crucis/en/station_09.html), The Vatican.
  18. Template:Note See note 8 above.
  19. Template:Note See note 8 above.
  20. Template:Note Justin Sparks, and John Follain, "Nazi link may dog favourite (http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,15003155%255E39835,00.html)," The Australian, April 18, 2005.
  21. Template:Note "Election of Cardinal Ratzinger as new Pope welcomed (http://www.worldjewishcongress.org/nfo/article.cfm?id=3908)," World Jewish Congress, April 19, 2005.
  22. Template:Note "His Holiness the Dalai Lama Greets New Pope (http://www.phayul.com/news/article.aspx?id=9643&article=His+Holiness+the+Dalai+Lama+Greets+New+Pope)," Phayul.com, April 20, 2005; Korean Catholics Welcome New Pontiff (http://english.chosun.com/w21data/html/news/200504/200504200016.html)," english.chosun.com, April 20, 2005.
  23. Template:Note "Benedict XVI: Ratzinger's positions on issues facing the Catholic Church (http://www.iht.com/articles/2005/04/20/news/issues.html)," International Herald Tribune, April 21, 2005.
  24. Template:Note "Pope Benedict XVI's Buddhist Encounter (http://paramita.typepad.com/dharma_forest/2005/04/pope_benedict_x.html)," Dharma Forest, April 20, 2005.
  25. Template:Note Donald Mitchell, review of John Paul II and Interreligious Dialogue (http://monasticdialog.com/a.php?id=577&t=p), by Pope John Paul II, ed. Byron L. Sherwin and Harold Kasimow, Monastic Interreligious Dialogue, March 2000.
  26. Template:Note Jim Bencivenga, "Navigating a clash of civilizations: Examining the new pope's old comments on Turkey's entry into the European Union (http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0422/dailyUpdate.html)," Christian Science Monitor, April 22, 2005.
  27. Template:Note http://www.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/europe/04/25/pope.monday/ Quote from a CNN Interview, April 25, 2005.
  28. Template:Note Pope Benedict XVI's General Audience Speech (http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2005/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20050427_en.html), The Vatican, April 27, 2005.
  29. Template:Note Coat of Arms of His Holiness Benedict XVI (http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/elezione/stemma-benedict-xvi_en.html), The Vatican.
  30. Template:Note Nicole Winfield, "Pope Benedict XVI condemns same-sex unions (http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,1280,-5056168,00.html)," The Guardian, June 6, 2005.
  31. Template:Note Alan Cooperman, "Pope Halts Beatification of French Priest (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/06/15/AR2005061502305.html)", Washington Post, June 16, 2005.


  • Allen, John L.: Cardinal Ratzinger: the Vatican's enforcer of the faith. – New York: Continuum, 2000
  • Nichols OP, Aidan: Theology of Joseph Ratzinger. – Edinburgh; T&T Clark, 1988
  • Wagner, Karl: Kardinal Ratzinger: der Erzbischof in München und Freising in Wort und Bild. – München : Pfeiffer, 1977
  • Pater Prior Maximilian Heim: Joseph Ratzinger - Kirchliche Existenz und existenzielle Theologie unter dem Anspruch von Lumen gentium (diss.).
  • Herrmann, Horst: Benedikt XVI. Der neue Papst aus Deutschland. – Berlin 2005


  • Allen, John L. (2005) Pope Benedict XVI: A Biography of Joseph Ratzinger New York: Continuum International Publishing Group. ISBN 0826417868
  • Bunson, Matthew. (2005) We Have a Pope! Benedict XVI Huntington IN: Our Sunday Visitor. ISBN 1592761801
  • Tobin, Greg. (2005) Holy Father : Pope Benedict XVI: Pontiff for a New Era Sterling. ISBN 1402731728

External links and references


  • Vatican: the Holy See (http://www.vatican.va) – Vatican web site
  • The Holy See - The Holy Father - Benedict XVI (http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/index.htm) – Vatican web site about the Holy Father Benedict XVI
  • Vatican: Election (http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/elezione/index_en.htm) Vatican web page about election
  • Communio (http://www.communio-icr.com/) magazine, founded by Ratzinger and others. Contains recent articles by him.
  • Official email address: Missing image

    (see link 'Greetings to the Holy Father' (http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/elezione/index_en.htm))


The first days of his papacy


Preceded by:
Julius Cardinal Dpfner
Archbishop of Munich and Freising
Succeeded by:
Friedrich Cardinal Wetter
Preceded by:
Franjo Cardinal Šeper
Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Succeeded by:
William Joseph Levada
Preceded by:
Bernardin Cardinal Gantin
Dean of the College of Cardinals
Succeeded by:
Angelo Cardinal Sodano
Preceded by:
John Paul II
Succeeded by:

Template:End box

ar:بينيدكت السادس عشر

ast:Benedictu XVI bg:Бенедикт XVI ca:Benet XVI cs:Benedikt XVI. cy:Pab Benedict XVI da:Pave Benedikt 16. de:Benedikt XVI. et:Benedictus XVI el:Πάπας Βενέδικτος ΙΣΤ' es:Benedicto XVI eo:Benedikto la 16-a fo:Benadikt XVI fr:Benot XVI ga:Ppa Beinidict XVI gl:Benedito XVI ko:베네딕토 16세 hi:जोज़फ़ रैत्सिंगर hr:Benedikt XVI. io:Benedictus 16ma id:Paus Benediktus XVI is:Benedikt XVI it:Papa Benedetto XVI he:בנדיקטוס השישה עשר la:Benedictus XVI lt:Benediktas XVI lb:Benot XVI. (Poopst) li:Benedictus XVI hu:XVI. Benedek zh-min-nan:Benedictus 16-s nl:Paus Benedictus XVI ja:ベネディクト16世 (ローマ教皇) mo:Папа Бенедикт ал ⅩⅥ-ля ms:Paus Benedict XVI no:Benedikt XVI nn:Pave Benedikt XVI pl:Papież Benedykt XVI pt:Papa Bento XVI ro:Papa Benedict al XVI-lea ru:Бенедикт XVI, папа scn:Binidittu XVI simple:Pope Benedict XVI sk:Benedikt XVI. sl:Papež Benedikt XVI. sr:Папа Бенедикт XVI fi:Benedictus XVI sv:Benedictus XVI tl:Papa Benedicto XVI ta:போப் பெனடிக்ட் XVI th:สมเด็จพระสันตะปาปาเบเนดิกต์ที่ 16 vi:Benedict XVI tpi:Benedict XVI uk:Бенедикт XVI zh:本篤十六世


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