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Benedict XVI
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Papacy began 19 April 2005
Predecessor John Paul II
Personal details
Birth name Joseph Alois Ratzinger
Born 16 April 1927 (1927-04-16) (age 82)
Marktl am Inn, Bavaria, Germany
Nationality German and Vatican
Signature Pope Benedict XVI's signature
Other Popes named Benedict
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Pope Benedict XVI (Latin: Benedictus PP. XVI; Italian: Benedetto XVI; German: Benedikt XVI.; born Joseph Alois Ratzinger on 16 April 1927) is the 265th and current Supreme Pontiff, by virtue of his office of Bishop of Rome, the head of the Catholic Church and, as such, Sovereign of the Vatican City State.[1] He was elected on 19 April 2005 in a papal conclave, celebrated his Papal Inauguration Mass on 24 April 2005, and took possession of his cathedral, the Basilica of St. John Lateran, on 7 May 2005. A native of Bavaria, Pope Benedict XVI has both German and Vatican citizenship. He succeeded Pope John Paul II.

Benedict XVI is theologically conservative, and his teaching and prolific[2] writings defend traditional Catholic doctrine and values. After a long career as an internationally noted academic, serving as a professor of theology at various German universities, he was appointed Archbishop of Munich and Freising and cardinal by Pope Paul VI in 1977. In 1981, he settled in Rome when he became Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, one of the most important offices of the Roman Curia. At the time of his election as Pope, he was also Dean of the College of Cardinals, and as such the primus inter pares among the cardinals.

During his papacy, Benedict XVI has emphasized what he sees as a need for Europe to return to fundamental Christian values in response to increasing de-Christianisation and secularisation in many developed countries. For this reason, he proclaims relativism's denial of objective truth—and more particularly, the denial of moral truths—as the central problem of the 21st century. He teaches the importance for the Catholic Church and for humanity of contemplating God's redemptive love and has reaffirmed the "importance of prayer in the face of the activism and the growing secularism of many Christians engaged in charitable work." The Pope has also revived a number of traditions, and notably given the Tridentine Mass a more prominent position.

Pope Benedict was also the founder and patron of the Ratzinger Foundation, a charitable organisation, which makes money from the sale of books and essays written by the Pope, in order to fund scholarships and bursaries for students across the world.[3]

Contents

Overview

Pope Benedict XVI at a private audience on 20 January 2006

Benedict XVI was elected Pope at the age of 78. He is the oldest person to have been elected Pope since Pope Clement XII (1730–40). He had served longer as a cardinal than any Pope since Benedict XIII (1724–30). He is the ninth German Pope, the eighth having been the Dutch-German Pope Adrian VI (1522–23) from Utrecht. The last Pope named Benedict was Benedict XV, an Italian who reigned from 1914 to 1922, during World War I (1914–18).

Born in 1927 in Marktl am Inn, Bavaria, Germany, Ratzinger had a distinguished career as a university theologian before being appointed Archbishop of Munich and Freising by Pope Paul VI (1963–78). Shortly afterwards, he was made a cardinal in the consistory of 27 June 1977. He was appointed Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith by Pope John Paul II in 1981 and was also assigned the honorific title of the cardinal bishop of Velletri-Segni on 5 April 1993. In 1998, he was elected sub-dean of the College of Cardinals. And on 30 November 2002, he was elected dean, taking, as is customary, the title of Cardinal bishop of the suburbicarian diocese of Ostia. He was the first Dean of the College elected Pope since Paul IV (1555–59) and the first cardinal bishop elected Pope since Pius VIII (1829–30).

Even before becoming Pope, Ratzinger was one of the most influential men in the Roman Curia, and was a close associate of John Paul II. As Dean of the College of Cardinals, he presided over the funeral of John Paul II and over the Mass immediately preceding the 2005 conclave in which he was elected. During the service, he called on the assembled cardinals to hold fast to the doctrine of the faith. He was the public face of the church in the sede vacante period, although, technically, he ranked below the Camerlengo in administrative authority during that time. Like his predecessor, Benedict XVI affirms traditional Catholic doctrine.

In addition to his native German, Benedict XVI fluently speaks Italian, French, English, Spanish, and Latin, and also has a knowledge of Portuguese. He can read Ancient Greek and biblical Hebrew.[4] He has stated that his first foreign language is French. He is a member of a large number of academies, such as the French Académie des sciences morales et politiques. He plays the piano and has a preference for Mozart and Bach.[5]

Early life: 1927–51

Marktl am Inn, the house where Benedict XVI was born. The building still stands today.

Joseph Alois Ratzinger was born on 16 April, Holy Saturday, 1927, at Schulstraße 11, at 8:30 in the morning in his parents' home in Marktl am Inn, Bavaria, Germany. He was baptized the same day. He was the third and youngest child of Joseph Ratzinger, Sr., a police officer, and Maria Ratzinger (née Peintner). His mother's family was originally from South Tyrol (now in Italy). Pope Benedict XVI's brother, Georg Ratzinger, a priest and former director of the Regensburger Domspatzen choir, is still alive. His sister, Maria Ratzinger, who never married, managed Cardinal Ratzinger's household until her death in 1991. Their great-uncle was the German politician Georg Ratzinger.

At the age of five, Ratzinger was in a group of children who welcomed the visiting Cardinal Archbishop of Munich with flowers. Struck by the Cardinal's distinctive garb, he later announced the very same day that he wanted to be a cardinal.

Ratzinger attended the elementary school in Aschau, which was renamed in his honour in 2009.[6]

Following his 14th birthday in 1941, Ratzinger was conscripted into the Hitler Youth, as membership was required for all 14-year old German boys after December 1939,[7] but was an unenthusiastic member and refused to attend meetings[8] (His father was a bitter enemy of Nazism, believing it conflicted with the Catholic faith. In 1941, one of Ratzinger's cousins, a 14-year-old boy with Down syndrome, was taken away by the Nazi regime and killed during the Aktion T4 campaign of Nazi eugenics[9]). In 1943, while still in seminary, he was drafted into the German anti-aircraft corps as Luftwaffenhelfer.[8] Ratzinger then trained in the German infantry, but a subsequent illness precluded him from the usual rigours of military duty. 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 their headquarters in the Ratzinger household. As a German soldier, he was put in a POW camp, but was released a few months later at the end of the war in the summer of 1945. He reentered the seminary, along with his brother Georg, in November of that year.

Following repatriation in 1945, the two brothers entered Saint Michael Seminary in Traunstein, 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.[10]

Ratzinger's 1953 dissertation was on St. Augustine and was entitled "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.

Pre-papal career

Academic career: 1951–77

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.

During this period, Ratzinger participated in the Second Vatican Council (1962–65). Ratzinger served as a peritus (theological consultant) to Josef Cardinal Frings of Cologne. He was viewed during the time of the Council as a reformer, cooperating with radical Modernist 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, Joseph 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 radicalized, 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.[11] Despite his reformist bent, his views increasingly came to contrast with the liberal ideas gaining currency in theological circles.[12]

Some voices, among them Hans 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]".[13] Ratzinger has 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 for 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 Roman Catholic way to engage in ecumenical dialogue.

During his years at Tübingen University, Ratzinger publicized articles in the reformist theological journal Concilium, though he increasingly chose less reformist themes than other contributors to the magazine such as Hans Küng and Edward Schillebeeckx.

In 1969, he returned to Bavaria, to the University of Regensburg. He 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 be possible to recognise as a Catholic statement of faith. This however did not happen due to differences in theology on justification.[14][15]

Archbishop of Munich and Freising: 1977–82

Palais Holnstein in Munich, the residence of Benedict as Archbishop of Munich and Freising

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.[16]

Role in abuse scandal

The German daily newspaper the Suddeutsche Zeitung revealed details of the mishandling of the case of a paedophile priest in the archdiocese of Munich in the early 1980s when the pope was archbishop of Munich. In January 1980 Cardinal Ratzinger approved the transfer of Father Peter Hullermann, who had been accused of sexual abuse including forcing an 11-year old boy to perform oral sex upon him, to Munich to undergo therapy.[17] Despite his record, Hullermann was assigned work in the area of pastoral care where he again abused minors. In June 1986 he was convicted of sexually abusing minors, fined DM4,000 and given an 18-month suspended sentence. Hullermann continued to serve as a priest in a variety of parishes in Bavaria, Germany until he was suspended on Monday March 14, 2010. In March 2010, Fr. Gerhard Gruber, who was at the time vicar general in Munich, assumed total responsibility for the decision to readmit Hullermann to pastoral care work, expressing regret and seeming to suggest that Cardinal Ratzinger had not been fully informed. According to sex abuse whistleblower Fr Tom Doyle, who was quoted in the New York Times, “Pope Benedict is a micromanager. He’s the old style. Anything like that would have been brought to his attention. Tell the vicar general to find a better line. What he’s trying to do, obviously, is protect the pope.”[18]

Referring both to this case and also to reports of sex abuse cases linked to the Regensburger Domspatzen choir, directed for 30 years by the pope’s brother, Mgr Georg Ratzinger, Vatican senior spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi argued at the weekend that the pope had been the victim of a media witch-hunt. “There have been those who have tried, with a certain aggressive persistence, in Regensburg and Munich, to look for elements to personally involve the Holy Father in the matter of abuses . . . It is clear that these attempts have failed.”[19]

Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: 1981–2005

Cardinal Ratzinger in 2003

On 25 November 1981, Pope John Paul II named Ratzinger Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, formerly known as the Holy Office, the historical 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, was made the College's vice-dean in 1998 and dean in 2002.

In office, Ratzinger fulfilled his institutional role, defending and reaffirming Catholic doctrine, including teaching on topics such as birth control, homosexuality, and inter-religious dialogue. Leonardo Boff, for example, was suspended, while others were censured. Other issues also prompted condemnations or revocations of rights to teach: for instance, some posthumous writings of Jesuit priest Anthony de Mello were the subject of a notification. Ratzinger and the Congregation viewed many of them, particularly the later works, as having an element of religious indifferentism (i.e., Christ was "one master alongside others").

The Congregation is best known for its authority over the teaching of Church doctrine, but it also has jurisdiction over other matters, including cases involving the seal of the confessional, clerical sexual misconduct and other matters, in its function as what amounts to a court. In his capacity as Prefect, Ratzinger's 2001 letter “Crimen Sollicitationis” which clarified the confidentiality of internal Church investigations into accusations made against priests of certain crimes, including sexual abuse, became a target of controversy during the sex abuse scandal.[20] While bishops hold the secrecy pertained only internally, and did not preclude investigation by civil law enforcement, the letter was often seen as promoting a coverup.[21] The Pope was accused in a lawsuit of conspiring to cover up the molestation of three boys in Texas, but sought and obtained diplomatic immunity from prosecution.[22]

On 12 March 1983, Ratzinger as prefect and cardinal notified the lay faithful and the clergy that archbishop Pierre Martin Ngo Dinh Thuc had incurred the excommunication latae sententiae for illicit episcopal consecrations without the apostolic mandate.

Papacy

Pope Benedict XVI in St. Peter's Square, Rome

Election to the papacy

Prediction

On 2 January 2005, Time magazine quoted unnamed Vatican sources as saying that Ratzinger was a front runner 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. 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.

Piers Paul Read wrote in The Spectator on 5 March 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."[23]

Though Ratzinger was increasingly considered the front runner by much of the international media, others maintained that his election was far from certain since very few papal predictions in modern history had come true. The elections of both John Paul II and his predecessor, John Paul I had been rather unexpected. Despite being the favorite (or perhaps because he was the favorite), it was a surprise to many that he was actually elected, as traditionally the frontrunners are passed over by the conclave for someone else.

Election

On 19 April 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."[24] Coincidentally, 19 April is the feast of St. Leo IX, the most important German pope of the Middle Ages, known for instituting major reforms during his pontificate.

Before his first appearance at the balcony of Saint Peter's Basilica after becoming pope, he was announced by Jorge Medina Estévez, protodeacon of the College of Cardinals. 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.

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

Dear brothers and sisters, after the great Pope John Paul II, the Cardinals have elected me, a simple, humble labourer in the vineyard of the Lord. The fact that the Lord knows how to work and to act even with insufficient instruments comforts me, and above all I entrust myself to your prayers. In the joy of the Risen Lord, confident of his unfailing help, let us move forward. The Lord will help us, and Mary, His Most Holy Mother, will be on our side. Thank you.[25]

On 24 April, he celebrated the Papal Inauguration Mass in St. Peter's Square, during which he was invested with the Pallium and the Ring of the Fisherman. Then, on 7 May, he took possession of his Cathedral church, the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran.

Choice of name

Ratzinger chose the pontifical name Benedict, which comes from the Latin word meaning "the blessed", in honor of both Pope Benedict XV and Saint Benedict of Nursia. Pope Benedict XV was Pope during the first World War, during which time he passionately pursued peace between the warring nations. St. Benedict of Nursia was the founder of the Benedictine monasteries (most monasteries of the Middle Ages were of the Benedictine Order) and the author of the Rule of Saint Benedict, which is still the most influential writing regarding the monastic life of Western Christianity.

Benedict XVI explained his choice of name during his first General Audience in St. Peter's Square, on 27 April 2005:

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 Nursia, 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![26]

Tone of papacy

Pope Benedict XVI's first trip in the Popemobile

During his inaugural Mass, the previous custom of every cardinal submitting to the Pope was replaced by having twelve people, including cardinals, clergy, religious, a married couple and their child, and newly confirmed people, greet him. (The cardinals had formally sworn their obedience upon his election.) He began using an open-topped papal car, saying that he wanted to be closer to the people. Pope Benedict has continued the tradition of his predecessor John Paul II and baptizes several infants in the Sistine Chapel at the beginning of each year, in his pastoral role as Bishop of Rome.

Beatifications

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 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.[27] The decision was announced on 13 May 2005, the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima and the 24th anniversary of the attempt on John Paul II's life.[28] John Paul II often credited Our Lady of Fatima 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.[29]

The first beatification under the new Pope was celebrated on 14 May 2005, by José Cardinal Saraiva Martins. 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 is scheduled to be beatified by next year. In October 2008 the following beatifications took place: Celestine of the Mother of God, Giuseppina Nicoli, Hendrina Stenmanns, Maria Rosa Flesch, Marta Anna Wiecka, Michal Sopocko, Petrus Kibe Kasui and 187 Companions, Susana Paz-Castillo Ramirez.

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.[30]

Canonizations

Pope Benedict at the canonization of Frei Galvão

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 Synod of Bishops and the Year of the Eucharist.[31] Pope Benedict XVI canonized Bishop Rafael Guizar y Valencia, Mother Theodore Guerin, Filippo Smaldone, and Rosa Venerini on 15 October 2006.

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 MUSEUM, 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.[32] Preca is the first Maltese saint since the country's conversion to Christianity in A.D. 60 when St. Paul converted the inhabitants.[33] In October 2008 the following canonizations took place: Saint Alphonsa of India,[34] Gaetano Errico, Narcisa de Jesus Martillo Moran, Maria Bernarda Bütler. In October 2009, he canonized Jeanne Jugan, Jozef Damian de Veuster, Zygmunt Szczęsny Feliński, Francisco Coll Guitart and Rafael Arnáiz Barón.[35]

Curia reform

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Pope Benedict began downsizing the Roman Curia when he merged four existing pontifical councils into two in March 2006. The Pontifical Council for Migrants was merged with the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace headed by Cardinal Martino. Likewise, Cardinal Poupard, who headed the Pontifical Council for Culture, now also oversees the operations of what had been the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, though both Councils maintained separate officials and staffs while their status and competencies continued unchanged. In May 2007 it was decided that Interreligious Dialogue would again become a separate body under a different President.

Teachings

As Pope, Benedict XVI's main role is to teach about the Catholic faith and the solutions to the problems of discerning and living the faith, a role that he can play well as a former head of the Church's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The main points of emphasis of his teachings are stated in more detail in Theology of Pope Benedict XVI.

"Friendship with Jesus Christ"

Benedict XVI: "The Eucharist is the enduring presence of Jesus' self-oblation." (Deus Caritas Est)

According to commentators, during the Inaugural Mass, the core of the Pope's message, the most moving and famous part, is found in the last paragraph of his homily where he referred to both Jesus Christ and John Paul II. After referring to John Paul II's well-known words, "Do not be afraid! Open wide the doors for Christ!", Benedict XVI said:

Are we not perhaps all afraid in some way? If we let Christ enter fully into our lives, if we open ourselves totally to Him, are we not afraid that He might take something away from us?...And once again the Pope said: No! If we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing of what makes life free, beautiful and great. No! Only in this friendship do we experience beauty and liberation....When we give ourselves to Him, we receive a hundredfold in return. Yes, open, open wide the doors to Christ – and you will find true life.[36]

"Friendship with Jesus Christ" is a frequent theme of his preaching.[37][38][39] He stressed that on this intimate friendship, "everything depends."[40] He has also said: "We are all called to open ourselves to this friendship with God... speaking to him as to a friend, the only One who can make the world both good and happy... That is all we have to do is put ourselves at his disposal...is an extremely important message. It is a message that helps to overcome what can be considered the great temptation of our time: the claim, that after the Big Bang, God withdrew from history."[41] Thus, in his book Jesus of Nazareth, his main purpose was "to help foster [in the reader] the growth of a living relationship" with Jesus Christ.[40]

He took up this theme in his first encyclical Deus Caritas Est. In his personal explanation and summary of the encyclical, he stated: "If friendship with God becomes for us something ever more important and decisive, then we will begin to love those whom God loves and who are in need of us. God wants us to be friends of his friends and we can be so, if we are interiorly close to them."[42] Thus, he said that prayer is "urgently needed...It is time to reaffirm the importance of prayer in the face of the activism and the growing secularism of many Christians engaged in charitable work."

"Dictatorship of Relativism"

Continuing what he said in the pre-conclave Mass about what he has often referred to as the "central problem of our faith today",[43] on 6 June 2005 Pope Benedict also said:

Today, a particularly insidious obstacle to the task of education is the massive presence in our society and culture of that relativism which, recognizing nothing as definitive, leaves as the ultimate criterion only the self with its desires. And under the semblance of freedom it becomes a prison for each one, for it separates people from one another, locking each person into his or her own ego.[44]

He said that "a dictatorship of relativism"[45] was the core challenge facing the church and humanity. At the root of this problem, he said, is Kant's "self-limitation of reason". This, he said, is contradictory to the modern acclamation of science, whose excellence is based on the power of reason to know the truth. He said that this self-amputation of reason leads to pathologies of religion such as terrorism and pathologies of science such as ecological disasters.[46] Benedict traced the failed revolutions and violent ideologies of the twentieth century to a conversion of partial points of view into absolute guides. He said "Absolutizing what is not absolute but relative is called totalitarianism."[47]

In an address to a conference of the Diocese of Rome held at the basilica of St. John Lateran 6 June 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.[48]

Christianity as religion according to reason

In the discussion with secularism and rationalism, one of Benedict's basic ideas can be found in his address on the "Crisis of Culture" in the West, a day before Pope John Paul II died, when he referred to Christianity as the Religion of the Logos (the Greek for "word", "reason", "meaning", or "intelligence"). He said:

From the beginning, Christianity has understood itself as the religion of the Logos, as the religion according to reason...It has always defined men, all men without distinction, as creatures and images of God, proclaiming for them...the same dignity. In this connection, the Enlightenment is of Christian origin and it is no accident that it was born precisely and exclusively in the realm of the Christian faith....It was and is the merit of the Enlightenment to have again proposed these original values of Christianity and of having given back to reason its own voice... Today, this should be precisely [Christianity's] philosophical strength, in so far as the problem is whether the world comes from the irrational, and reason is not other than a 'sub-product,' on occasion even harmful of its development—or whether the world comes from reason, and is, as a consequence, its criterion and goal...In the so necessary dialogue between secularists and Catholics, we Christians must be very careful to remain faithful to this fundamental line: to live a faith that comes from the Logos, from creative reason, and that, because of this, is also open to all that is truly rational.[49]

Benedict also emphasized that "Only creative reason, which in the crucified God is manifested as love, can really show us the way."

Encyclicals: Love and hope

Pope Benedict has to date written three encyclicals, Deus Caritas Est (Latin for "God is Love"), Spe Salvi ("Saved by Hope"), and Caritas in Veritate ("Love in Truth").

In his first encyclical, "God is love", he said that a human being, created in the image of God who is love, is able to practice love: to give himself to God and others (agape), by receiving and experiencing God's love in contemplation (eros). This life of love, according to him, is the life of the saints such as Teresa of Calcutta and the Blessed Virgin Mary, and is the direction Christians take when they believe that God loves them in Jesus Christ.[50]

The encyclical contains almost 16,000 words in 42 paragraphs. The first half is said to have been written by Benedict in German, his mother tongue, in the summer of 2005; the second half is derived from uncompleted writings left by his predecessor, Pope John Paul II.[51] The document was signed by Pope Benedict on Christmas Day, 25 December 2005.[52] The encyclical was promulgated a month later in Latin and was translated into English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, and Spanish. It is the first encyclical to be published since the Vatican decided to assert copyright in the official writings of the Pope.[53]

Pope Benedict's second encyclical titled Spe Salvi ("Saved by Hope"), about the virtue of hope, was released on 30 November 2007.[54][55]

Benedict's 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.[56] 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.[56]

Post-synodal apostolic exhortation

Sacramentum Caritatis (The Sacrament of Charity) signed 22 February 2007, 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 recent Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops..." which was held in 2006.[57]

Motu proprio on Tridentine Mass

A pre-1969 Latin Rite altar with reredos.
The high altar of a church was usually preceded by three steps, below which were said the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar. Side altars usually had only one step.

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.[58] 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.[59] For regularly scheduled public celebrations of the Tridentine Mass, the permission of the priest in charge of the church is required.[60]

In an accompanying letter, the Pope outlined his position concerning questions about the new guidelines,[59] emphasizing that the Tridentine Mass would not detract from the Second Vatican Council, and that the Mass of Paul VI would still be the norm and priests were not permitted to refuse to say the Mass in that form. He pointed out that use of Tridentine Mass "was never juridically abrogated and, consequently, in principle, was always permitted."[59] The letter also decried "deformations of the liturgy ... because in many places celebrations were not faithful to the prescriptions of the new Missal" as the Second Vatican Council was wrongly seen "as authorizing or even requiring creativity", mentioning his own experience.[59]

The Pope also considered that allowing the Tridentine Mass to those who request it was a means to prevent schism, stating that, on occasions in past history, "not enough was done by the Church’s leaders to maintain or regain reconciliation and unity" and that this "imposes an obligation on us today: to make every effort to enable for all those who truly desire unity to remain in that unity or to attain it anew.[59] Many feel the decree aimed at ending the schism between the Holy See and traditionalist groups such as the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX). Darío Castrillón Cardinal Hoyos, the president of the Pontifical Commission that oversees the Tridentine Mass stated that the decree "opened the door for their return," and said "I wouldn't understand if they don't come back." Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior general of the SSPX, expressed "deep gratitude to the Sovereign Pontiff for this great spiritual benefit",[58] but also said that the group "had to iron out doctrinal differences with the Vatican before a reconciliation could take place."

Some Catholic voices feared that the move would entail a reversal of the Second Vatican Council.[61]

Unicity and Salvific Universality of the Church

Near the end of June 2007, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a document approved by Benedict XVI "because some contemporary theological interpretations of Vatican II's ecumenical intent had been 'erroneous or ambiguous' and had prompted confusion and doubt."[62] The document has been seen as restating "key sections of a 2000 text the pope wrote when he was prefect of the congregation, Dominus Iesus."[62]

Consumerism

Benedict XVI has 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."[63]

In June 2009, he blamed outsourcing for greater availability of consumer goods which lead to downsizing of social security systems.[64]

Ecumenical efforts

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," said Pope Benedict. "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."

Dialogue with other religions

Pope Benedict is open to dialogue with other religious groups, and has sought to improve relations with them throughout his pontificate. He has, however, generated certain controversies in doing so.

Judaism

When Benedict ascended to the Papacy his election was welcomed by the Anti-Defamation League who noted "his great sensitivity to Jewish history and the Holocaust".[65] However, his election received a more reserved response from the United Kingdom's Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, who hoped that Benedict would "continue along the path of Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II in working to enhance relations with the Jewish people and the State of Israel."[66] The Foreign Minister of Israel also offered more tentative praise, though the Minister believed that "this Pope, considering his historical experience, will be especially committed to an uncompromising fight against anti-Semitism."[66]

Critics have accused Benedict's papacy as being insensitive towards Judaism. The two most prominent instances were the expanding the use of the Tridentine Mass and the lifting of the excommunication on four bishops from the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX). In the Good Friday service, the traditional Mass rubrics include a prayer that asks God to lift the veil so they [Jews] may be delivered from their darkness. This prayer has historically been contentious in Judaic-Catholic relations and the several groups saw the restoration of the Latin Mass as problematic.[67][68][69][70][71] Among those whose excommunications was lifted was Bishop Richard Williamson. This caused controversy because Williamson is an outspoken Holocaust denier.[72][73][74][75] The lifting of his excommunication led critics to charge that the Pope was condoning his anti-Semitic views.[76]

Islam

Pope Benedict's relations with Islam have been strained at times. On 12 September 2006 Pope Benedict XVI delivered a lecture which touched on Islam at the University of Regensburg in Germany. The pope had previously served as professor of theology at the university, 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 said was an insulting mischaracterization of Islam, although his focus was aimed towards the rationality of religious violence, and its effect on the religion.[77][78] Muslims were particularly offended by the following quotation from the Pope's 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.[78]

The passage originally appeared in the “Dialogue Held With A Certain Persian, the Worthy Mouterizes, in Anakara of Galatia[citation needed] 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).[79] 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.

Pope Benedict XVI planned on 5 March 2008, to meet with Muslim scholars and religious leaders autumn 2008 at a Catholic-Muslim seminar in Rome.[80] That meeting, the "First Meeting of the Catholic-Muslim Forum," was held from November 4–6, 2008.[81]

Tibetan Buddhism

The Dalai Lama congratulated Pope Benedict XVI upon his election,[82] 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.[83]

Indigenous American beliefs

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."[84] 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."[84] President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela demanded an apology, and an indigenous organization in Ecuador issued a response which stated that "representatives of the Catholic Church of those times, with honorable exceptions, were accomplices, deceivers and beneficiaries of one of the most horrific genocides of all humanity."[84] 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."[85]

International Society for Krishna Consciousness

While visiting the United States on 17 April 2008, Benedict met with International Society for Krishna Consciousness representative Radhika Ramana Dasa;[86] a notable Hindu scholar[87] and disciple of Hanumatpreshaka Swami.[88] On behalf of the Hindu American community, Radhika Ramana Dasa presented a gift of an Om symbol[89] to Benedict.[90][91]

Apostolic ministry

Pope Benedict XVI in a Mercedes-Benz popemobile in São Paulo, Brazil

As Pontiff, Benedict XVI carries out numerous Apostolic activities including journeys across the world and in the Vatican.

Benedict traveled extensively during the first three years of his papacy. In addition to his travels within Italy, Pope Benedict XVI has made two visits to his homeland, Germany, one for World Youth Day and another to visit the towns of his childhood. He has also visited Poland and Spain, where he was enthusiastically received. His visit to Turkey, an overwhelmingly Muslim nation, was initially overshadowed by the controversy about a lecture he had given at Regensburg. His visit was met by nationalist and Islamic protesters[92] and was placed under unprecedented security measures.[93] However, the trip went ahead and Benedict made a joint declaration with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I in an attempt to begin to heal the rift between the Catholic and Orthodox churches.

In 2007, Pope Benedict visited Brazil in order to address the Bishops' Conference there and canonise 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,[94] during which he joined Vienna's chief rabbi in a memorial to the 65,000 Viennese Jews who perished in Nazi death camps.[95] During his stay in Austria, he also celebrated Mass at the Marian shrine Mariazell and visited Heiligenkreuz Abbey.[96]

Pope Benedict XVI celebrates his 81st birthday with U.S. President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura.

In April 2008 Pope Benedict XVI made his first visit to the United States since becoming pope.[97] He arrived in Washington, DC where he was formally received at the White House and met privately with U.S. President George W. Bush.[98] 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.[99] The Pope also met privately with victims of sexual abuse by priests. The pope traveled to New York where he addressed the United Nations General Assembly.[100] 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.[101] On the final day of the pope's visit, he visited the World Trade Center site and later celebrated Mass at Yankee Stadium.[102]

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.[103][104] 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.[105][106]

The Pope visited France in September 2008, where he condemned modern materialism. In 2009, he visited Africa (Cameroon, a former German colony, and Angola) for the first time as a 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.

Pope Benedict's main arena for pastoral activity is the Vatican itself, his Christmas and Easter homilies and Urbi et Orbi are delieved from St Peter's Basilica. The Vatican is also the only regular place where the Pope travels via moter without the protective bullet proof case common to most popemobiles. Despite the more secure setting Pope Benedict has been victim to security risks several times inside Vatican City. On Wednesday, 6 June 2007 during his General Audience a man lept across a barrier, evaded guards and nearly mounted the Pope's vehicle, although he was stopped and Benedict seemed to be unaware of the event.[107] On Thursday, 24 December 2009, while Pope Benedict was proceeding to the altar to celebrate Christmas Eve Mass at St Peter's Basilica, a woman later identified as 25-year-old Susanna Maiolo, who holds Italian and Swiss citizenships, jumped the barrier and grabbed the pope by his vestments and pulled him to the ground. The 82-year-old fell but was assisted to his feet and he continued to proceed towards the altar to celebrate Mass. Roger Cardinal Etchegaray, 87, the vice-dean of the College of Cardinals was injured, suffering a hip fracture in a fall. Italian police revealed that the woman had previously attempted to accost the Pope at the previous Christmas Eve Mass, but was prevented from doing so.[108][109]

In his homily, Pope Benedict forgave Susanna Maiolo [110] and urged the world to "wake up" from selfishness and petty affairs, and find time for God and spiritual matters.[111]

Attire

Pope Benedict XVI in choir dress with the red summer papal mozzetta, embroidered red stole, and the red papal shoes.

Pope Benedict XVI has re-introduced several papal garments which had previously fallen into disuse. Pope Benedict XVI resumed the use of the traditional red papal shoes, which had not been used since early in the pontificate of Pope John Paul II. Contrary to the initial speculation of the press that the shoes had been made by the Italian fashion house Prada, the Vatican announced that the shoes were provided by the pope's personal cobbler.[112]

On 21 December 2005, the pope began wearing 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.

Health

Because of age-related health problems, and in order to have free time to write, he had hoped to retire, and submitted his resignation three times, but had 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. This was known to the Conclave that elected him Pope. In August 1992, on a vacation in the Alps, he fell and struck his head against a radiator. In May 2005, the Vatican revealed that he had subsequently suffered another mild stroke; it did not reveal when, other than that it had occurred between 2003 and 2005. France's Philippe Cardinal Barbarin further revealed that since the first stroke, Ratzinger had been suffering from a heart condition as a result of his age, and is currently on medication. In late November 2006, an unconfirmed rumor emerged that Pope Benedict had undergone an operation in preparation for an eventual bypass operation, and that the bronchitis suffered by the Pope has put undue pressure on the Pope's heart.[113] It is notable, however, that he appears to be in far better health than his predecessor was at the age of 79.[114]

On Friday 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.[115] Benedict is thought to be right-handed.[116]

Titles

Papal styles of
Pope Benedict XVI

BXVI CoA like gfx PioM.svg

Reference style His Holiness
Spoken style Your Holiness
Religious style Holy Father
Posthumous style

The official title of the Pope is His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI; in Latin, Benedictus XVI, Episcopus Romae. However, his rarely used full title is "His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Jesus Christ, Successor of the Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, Primate of Italy, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Roman province, Sovereign of the State of the Vatican City, Servant of the Servants of God."

Before 1 March 2006, the list of titles also used to contain that of a "Patriarch of the West", which traditionally appeared in that list of titles before "Primate of Italy". The title of "Patriarch of the West" was first adopted in the year 642 by Pope Theodore I, but was rarely used since the East-West Schism of 1054. From the Orthodox perspective, authority in the Church could be traced to the five patriarchates of Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem. However, some Catholic theologians have argued that the term "Patriarch of the West" has no clear historical or theological basis and was introduced into the papal court in 1870 at the time of the First Vatican Council. Pope Benedict chose to remove the title at a time when discussions with the Orthodox churches have centered on the issue of papal primacy. It has also been suggested that "the West" is a misnomer as the modern Latin Church is today global in its extent.[citation needed]

Arms

Positions on moral and political issues

Birth control and HIV/AIDS

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.[118] 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.[119] However, the Vatican has since stated that no such change in the Church's teaching can occur.[120] Time Magazine also reported in its 30 April 2006 edition 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."[120]

In March 2009, the Pope stated:

I would say that this problem of AIDS cannot be overcome merely with money, necessary though it is. If there is no human dimension, if Africans do not help, the problem cannot be overcome by the distribution of prophylactics: on the contrary, they increase it. The solution must have two elements: firstly, bringing out the human dimension of sexuality, that is to say a spiritual and human renewal that would bring with it a new way of behaving towards others, and secondly, true friendship offered above all to those who are suffering, a willingness to make sacrifices and to practise self-denial, to be alongside the suffering.[121]

Homosexuality

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 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."[122] However the document also condemned homophobic attacks and violence stating "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."[123]

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 opined, was not equivalent to race or ethnicity, and it declared that it was "not unjust discrimination to take sexual orientation into account."[124]

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, set down by creation, be respected". He characterized gender roles which deviated from his view of what gender roles should be as "a violation of the natural order". The church, he said, "should protect man from the destruction of himself". He said a sort of ecology of man was needed, adding: "The tropical forests do deserve our protection; but man, as a creature, does not deserve any less." He attacked what he described as gender theories which "lead towards the self-emancipation of man from creation and the creator"."[125][126]

LGBT groups such as the Italian Arcigay and German LSVD have announced that they found the Pope's comments homophobic.[127] Aurelio Mancuso, head of Arcigay, saying "A divine programme for men and women is out of line with nature, where the roles are not so clear."[125]

Father Federico Lombardi, a Vatican spokesman, claimed the Pope had not wished specifically to attack homosexuality, and had not mentioned gays or lesbians in his text. Father Lombardi insisted, however, that there had been an overreaction to the Pope's remarks. "He was speaking more generally about gender theories which overlook the fundamental difference in creation between men and women and focus instead on cultural conditioning." Nevertheless, the remarks were interpreted as a call to save mankind from homosexuals and transsexuals.[125]

International relations

Benedict with then President of Russia Vladimir Putin on 13 March 2007

Migrants and refugees

In a message released 14 November 2006, during a Vatican press conference for the 2007 annual observance of World Day for Migrants and Refugees, the pope urged the ratification of international conventions and policies that defend all migrants, including refugees, exiles, evacuees, and internally displaced persons. "The church encourages the ratification of the international legal instruments that aim to defend the rights of migrants, refugees and their families," the pope said. "Much is already being done for the integration of the families of immigrants, although much still remains to be done."[128]

Pope Benedict has also promoted various UN events, such as World Refugee Day, on which he offered up special prayers for refugees and called for the international community to do more to secure refugees' human rights. He also called on Catholic communities and organizations to offer them concrete help.[129]

China

On 28 June 2006, for the first time in more than five years, an official Vatican delegation visited China and met with government officials, signaling a warming between the two states that had previously been locked in conflict. "This is a real gesture by the Vatican and its diplomats," said the Reverend Bernardo Cervellera, director of AsiaNews, a Catholic missionary news service with close links to the Vatican. In sending diplomats to Beijing, the Vatican, under Pope Benedict XVI, is publicly expressing interest in improving relations with China despite the recent conflicts.[130]

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.[131]

Korea

On 13 November 2006, Benedict said 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 denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula." Benedict was talking to the new Japanese ambassador to the Vatican.[132]

Turkey

In a 2004 Le Figaro interview, Ratzinger said that Turkey, which is demographically Muslim but governmentally secular by virtue of its state constitution (see Secularism in Turkey), should seek its future in an association of Muslim nations rather than the European Union, which Ratzinger has 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.[133]

Later visiting the country to "reiterate the solidarity between the cultures," it was reported that he made a counter-statement backing Turkey's bid to join the EU. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, after meeting the pope upon his arrival in Ankara, the pope's first visit to a majority Muslim country, said that the pope told him that while the Vatican seeks to stay out of politics it desires Turkey's membership in the EU.[134][135] However, the Common Declaration of Pope Benedict XVI and Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople implied that support for Turkey's membership in the European Union would be contingent on the establishment of religious freedom in Turkey:[136] "In every step towards unification, minorities must be protected, with their cultural traditions and the distinguishing features of their religion."[137] The Declaration also reiterates Pope Benedict XVI's call for Europe to preserve its Christian roots.

Israel

In May 2009 he visited Israel, where David D'Or and Dudu Fisher sang for him upon his arrival.[138][139] This was the third visit of a Pope in the Holy Land, the previous one bring held by Pope John Paul II in 2000.

Global economy

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.[140] The document sets out the 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 has reported that the Pope's advocacy for a fairer redistribution of wealth has helped set the agenda for the 2009 July G8 summit.[141] [142]

Nuclear energy

Pope Benedict XVI has called for nuclear disarmament. At the same time, he has supported the peaceful use of nuclear energy as a tool for the development and fighting against poverty. In his message for the 50th anniversary of the founding of the International Atomic Energy Agency, he confirmed: "The Holy See, fully approving of the IAEA's goal, has been a member from the organization's foundation and continues to support its activity."[143]

Interests

Pope Benedict is known to be deeply interested in classical music,[144] and is himself an accomplished pianist.[145] He has a grand piano in his papal quarters. The Pontiff's favorite composer is Mozart, of whose music the Pope said: "His music is by no means just entertainment; it contains the whole tragedy of human existence."[146] Benedict also stated that Mozart's music affected him greatly as a young man and "deeply penetrated his soul."[146]

Pope Benedict has recorded an album of contemporary classical music in which Benedict sings and recites prayers to the Virgin Mary.[147] The album was set for release on 30 November 2009.

Pope Benedict is also known to be fond of cats.[144] As Cardinal Ratzinger he was known to look after stray cats in Rome. 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 a real orange tabby Pentling cat, which belonged to the family next door.[148] 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[149] in order to keep him company during his stay.[150]

See also

References

Notes
  1. ^ The precise number of popes has been a matter for scholarly debate for centuries. John A. Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary (1980) lists Pope John Paul II (1978–2005) as 264th Pope, making Benedict XVI the 265th.
  2. ^ "Vatican to publish entire work by bestselling author Pope Benedict XVI". Times Online. 2008-06-06. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article4079549.ece. Retrieved 2009-05-06. 
  3. ^ Moore, Malcolm (2008-06-06). "Pope Benedict XVI's book is a best-seller". Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/italy/2086735/Pope-Benedict-XVI's-book-is-a-best-seller.html. Retrieved 2009-07-08. 
  4. ^ "Pope Benedict XVI: Quick Facts". United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. http://www.usccb.org/comm/popebenedictxvi/benedictfacts.shtml. Retrieved 2007-11-04. 
  5. ^ Willey, David (2005-05-13). "Pope Benedict's creature comforts". BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4539613.stm. Retrieved 2007-05-13. 
  6. ^ "Eine Schule mit dem Segen des Papstes [A School Named After the Pope]" (in German). Passauer Neue Presse (Neue Presse Verlags-GmbH). 2009-06-23. http://www.pnp.de/nachrichten/artikel.php?cid=29-24426340&Ressort=bay&Ausgabe=a&RessLang=bay&BNR=0. Retrieved 2009-07-08. 
  7. ^ Evans, Richard J (2005). The Third Reich in Power. p. 272. 
  8. ^ a b "New Pope Defied Nazis As Teen During WWII". Associated Press. USA Today. 2005-04-23. http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2005-04-23-new-pope-defied-Nazis_x.htm. Retrieved 2009-07-10. 
  9. ^ Allen, John (2005-10-14). "Anti-Nazi Prelate Beatified". The Word from Rome (National Catholic Reporter). http://www.nationalcatholicreporter.org/word/word101405.htm#five. Retrieved 2008-04-15. 
  10. ^ Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger ; translated from the German by Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis. (1998). Milestones: Memoirs 1927-1977. Ignatious Press. p. 99. ISBN 9780898707021. 
  11. ^ Van Biema, David (2005-04-24). "The Turning Point". Time (Time Warner). http://www.time.com/time/covers/1101050502/sobenedict.html. Retrieved 2009-07-10. 
  12. ^ Wakin, Daniel J (2005-04-24). "Turbulence on Campus in 60's Hardened Views of Future Pope". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/24/international/worldspecial2/24ratzinger.html?position=&incamp=article_popular_5&pagewanted=print&position=. Retrieved 2005-06-08. 
  13. ^ Ostling, Richard N.; Moody, John; Morris, Nomi (1993-12-06). "Keeper of the Straight and Narrow". Time (Time Warner). http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,979775-1,00.html. Retrieved 2009-07-10. 
  14. ^ Dulles, s.j., Avery (October 1983). "The Catholicity of the Augsburg Confession". The Journal of Religion 63 (4): 337–354. doi:10.1086/487060. http://www.jstor.org/pss/1203403. 
  15. ^ Fahlbusch, Erwin; Bromiley, Geoffrey William; Barrett, David B. (1999). "Evangelical Catholicity". The Encyclopedia of Christianity. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. ISBN 9004116958. 
  16. ^ Thavis, John; Wooden, Cindy (2005-04-19). "Cardinal Ratzinger, guardian of church doctrine, elected 265th pope". Catholic News Service. http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0502405.htm. Retrieved 2009-07-17. 
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  18. ^ Vatican tries to limit damage as German abuse scandal moves closer to pope
  19. ^ Vatican tries to limit damage as German abuse scandal moves closer to pope
  20. ^ Doward, Jamie (2005-04-24). "Pope 'obstructed' sex abuse inquiry". The Observer. http://observer.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,6903,1469055,00.html. Retrieved 2007-07-14. 
  21. ^ "UK Bishops Angered by BBC Attack on Pope". EWTN. Catholic News Agency. 2006-10-02. http://www.ewtn.com/vnews/getstory.asp?number=71831. Retrieved 2008-04-14. 
  22. ^ "Pope seeks immunity in Texas abuse case", Chicago Sun-Times, August 17, 2005.
  23. ^ The man who should be Pope Issue: 5 March 2005, The Spectator.co.uk
  24. ^ Pope 'prayed not to be elected' Quote from a CNN Interview, 25 April 2005.
  25. ^ Official translation taken from www.vatican.va
  26. ^ Pope Benedict XVI's General Audience Speech, The Vatican, 27 April 2005.
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Further reading

Books by Pope Benedict

  • Daughter Zion: Meditations on the Church's Marian Belief (1983)
  • Schauen auf den Durchbohrten: Versuche zu einer spirituellen Christologie — The Theological Basis for a Spiritual Christology (1984) (English title Behold the Pierced One, Ignatius, 1986)
  • Ratzinger, Joseph (1985). The Ratzinger Report. San Francisco: Ignatius Press. ISBN 0898700809. 
  • Dogma and Preaching (Franciscan Herald, 1985)
  • Feast of Faith: Approaches to a Theology of the Liturgy (Ignatius, 1986)
  • Principles of Christian Morality (Ignatius, 1986)
  • Journey Towards Easter: Retreat Given in the Vatican in the Presence of Pope John Paul II (1987)
  • Principles of Catholic Theology: Building Stones for a Fundamental Theology (Ignatius, 1987)
  • Ratzinger, Joseph (1988). Johann Auer and Joseph Ratzinger. ed. Eschatology, Death and Eternal Life. Dogmatic Theology. 9. Washington: Catholic University of America Press. ISBN 0813206332. 
  • Mary: God's Yes to Man : Pope John Paul II Encyclical Letter : Mother of the Redeemer (Ignatius, 1988)
  • "In the Beginning...": A Catholic Understanding of the Story of Creation and the Fall (Our Sunday Visitor, 1990)
  • To Look on Christ: Exercises in Faith, Hope, and Love (Crossroad, 1991)
  • Co-Workers of the Truth: Meditations for Every Day of the Year (Ignatius, 1992)
  • The Meaning of Christian Brotherhood (Ignatius, 1993)
  • A Turning Point for Europe?: The Church in the Modern World-Assessment and Forecast (Ignatius, 1994)
  • The Nature and Mission of Theology: Essays to Orient Theology in Today's Debates (Ignatius, 1995)
  • Called to Communion: Understanding the Church Today (Ignatius, 1996)
  • Gospel, Catechesis, Catechism: Sidelights on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Ignatius, 1997)
  • Ratzinger, Joseph (1997). Salt of the Earth: an interview with Peter Seewald. San Francisco: Ignatius Press. ISBN 0898706408. 
  • Catechism of the Catholic Church: Corrigenda (1998)
  • Ad Tuendam Fidem — to Protect the Faith (1998)
  • Milestones: Memoirs 1927-1977 (Ignatius, 1998)
  • Many Religions, One Covenant: Israel, the Church, and the World (1999)
  • The Spirit of the Liturgy (2000)
  • Introduction to Christianity, revised ed. (Ignatius, 2004)
  • God and the World: A Conversation With Peter Seewald (Ignatius, 2002)
  • God Is Near Us: The Eucharist, the Heart of Life (Ignatius, 2003)
  • Truth and Tolerance: Christian Belief And World Religions (Ignatius, 2004)
  • Way of the Cross at the Colosseum on Good Friday 2005, Introduction, and Meditations and prayers on the 14 Stations of the Cross.
  • The End of Time?: The Provocation of Talking about God (2005)
  • Pilgrim Fellowship Of Faith: The Church As Communion (Ignatius, 2005)
  • On the Way to Jesus Christ (Ignatius, 2005)
  • God's Revolution (Ignatius, 2006)
  • Christianity and the Crisis of Cultures (Ignatius, 2006)
  • Values in a Time of Upheaval (Ignatius, 2006)
  • The Dialectics of Secularization: On Reason and Religion, co-authored with Jürgen Habermas, (Ignatius, 2007)
  • Pope Benedict XVI (2006). God Is Love(Deus Caritas Est), First Encyclical of Pope Benedict XVI. City: USCCB Publisher. ISBN 1574557580. 
  • Pope Benedict XVI (2007). Jesus of Nazareth: from the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration. Garden City: Doubleday. ISBN 0385523416. 
  • Pope Benedict XVI (2007). The Apostles. Huntington: Our Sunday Visitor. ISBN 9781592764051. 
  • Pope Benedict XVI (2005). Robert Moynihan. ed. Let God's Light Shine Forth:The Spiritual Vision of Pope Benedict XVI. Garden City: Doubleday. ISBN 0385507925. 

Literature about him

  • Allen, John L.: Cardinal Ratzinger: the Vatican's enforcer of the faith. – New York: Continuum, 2000
  • Herrmann, Horst: Benedikt XVI. Der neue Papst aus Deutschland. – Berlin 2005
  • Nichols OP, Aidan: Theology of Joseph Ratzinger. – Edinburgh; T&T Clark, 1988
  • Pater Prior Maximilian Heim: Joseph Ratzinger — Kirchliche Existenz und existenzielle Theologie unter dem Anspruch von Lumen gentium (diss.).
  • Twomey, D. Vincent, S.V.D.: Pope Benedict XVI: The Conscience of Our Age (A Theological Portrait). – San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2007
  • Wagner, Karl: Kardinal Ratzinger: der Erzbischof in München und Freising in Wort und Bild. – München : Pfeiffer, 1977

Biographies

  • Allen, John L. The Rise of Benedict XVI: The Inside Story of How the Pope Was Elected and Where He Will Take the Catholic Church. NY: Doubleday, 2005. ISBN 0-385-51320-8.
  • Allen, John L. Pope Benedict XVI: A Biography of Joseph Ratzinger. New York: Continuum International Publishing Group, 2005. ISBN 0-8264-1786-8. This is a reprint of Allen's 2000 book Cardinal Ratzinger: the Vatican's Enforcer of the Faith, reprinted without Allen's permission.
  • Bardazzi, Marco. In the Vineyard of the Lord : The Life, Faith, and Teachings of Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI. New York: Rizzoli International, 2005. ISBN 0-8478-2801-8
  • Bunson, Matthew. We Have a Pope! Benedict XVI Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor. ISBN 1-59276-180-1.
  • Pursell, Brennan, Benedict of Bavaria: An Intimate Portrait of the Pope and His Homeland (Circle Press, 2008). ISBN 1-933271-17-5.
  • Tobin, Greg. Holy Father : Pope Benedict XVI: Pontiff for a New Era. Sterling, 2005. ISBN 1-4027-3172-8.
  • Weigel, George. God's Choice: Pope Benedict XVI and the Future of the Catholic Church, Harper Collins, 2005. ISBN 0-06-621331-2.

Documentaries

  • The Keys of the Kingdom, from John Paul II to Benedict XVI, produced by Vatican Television Center, distributed by HDH Communications, 2006.

External links

Encyclicals by Benedict XVI
Episcopal Lineage
Consecrated by: Josef Stangl
Date of consecration: 28 May 1977
Consecrator of
Bishop Date of consecration
Alberto Cardinal Bovone 12 May 1984
Zygmunt Zimowski 25 May 2002
Josef Clemens 6 January 2004
Bruno Forte 8 September 2004
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Julius Cardinal Döpfner
Archbishop of Munich and Freising
1977 – 1982
Succeeded by
Friedrich Cardinal Wetter
Preceded by
Franjo Cardinal Šeper
Prefect of the Congregation
for the Doctrine of the Faith

1981 – 2005
Succeeded by
William Cardinal Levada
Preceded by
Bernardin Cardinal Gantin
Dean of the College of Cardinals
2002 – 2005
Succeeded by
Angelo Cardinal Sodano
Preceded by
John Paul II
Pope
2005 – present
Incumbent


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Pope Benedict XVI article)

From Wikiquote

I too hope in this short reign to be a man of peace.
In a world threatened by sinister and indiscriminate forms of violence, the unified voice of religious people urges nations and communities to resolve conflicts through peaceful means and with full regard for human dignity.
By reminding us of human finitude and weakness, religion also enjoins us not to place our ultimate hope in this passing world.

Pope Benedict XVI, born Joseph Ratzinger, is the current Pope of the Roman Catholic Church. He was elected April 19, 2005 to succeed Pope John Paul II.

Contents

On Europe and the Church

Authentic love is obviously something good. When we love we become most fully human. But people often consider themselves loving when actually they are possessive or manipulative.
  • In the hour of its greatest success, Europe seems to have become empty inside, paralyzed by a life-threatening crisis to its health and dependent on transplants.
    • Values in Times of Upheaval, 2005
  • The fact that the church is convinced of not having the right to confer priestly ordination on women is now considered by some as irreconcilable with the European Constitution.
    • from Zenit.org, April 11, 2005.

On Other Belief-Systems

  • It is true that the Muslim world is not totally mistaken when it reproaches the West of Christian tradition of moral decadence and the manipulation of human life. ... Islam has also had moments of great splendor and decadence in the course of its history.
    • from "Ratzinger denies Christianity 'superior' to Islam," Zenit.org via Catholic News, March 6, 2002.
  • That the Jews are connected with God in a special way and that God does not allow that bond to fail is entirely obvious. We wait for the instant in which Israel will say yes to Christ, but we know that it has a special mission in history now ... which is significant for the world.
    • from Ratzinger's book, God and the World, published October 2000, as reported by National Catholic Reporter.
  • Our Christian conviction is that Christ is also the messiah of Israel. Certainly it is in the hands of God how and when the unification of Jews and Christians into the people of God will take place.
    • from God and the World, published October 2000, as reported by National Catholic Reporter.
  • Deeper understanding of the matter is bound to recognize that the Temple, as well as the synagogue, entered into Christian liturgy.
    • The Spirit of the Liturgy, 2000
  • If Buddhism is attractive, it is because it appears as a possibility of touching the infinite and obtaining happiness without having any concrete religious obligations. A spiritual auto-eroticism of some sort. Someone had rightly predicted in the 1950s that the challenge to the Church in the twentieth century would not be Marxism, but Buddhism.
    • Interview for the French newspaper L'Express (20 March, 1997).
  • I think we must reflect more on what democracy in the exercise of authority would mean. Is truth determined by a majority vote, only for a new 'truth' to be 'discovered' by a new majority tomorrow?
    • The Public Square, by Richard John Neuhaus, First Things 1996

Sex Abuse Scandals

  • How much filth there is in the church, even among those who, in the priesthood, should belong entirely to Him. How much pride, how much self-sufficiency.
    • At a Good Friday Mass in 2005, seen by many as a statement about the clergy sex abuse scandal
  • In the Church, priests also are sinners. But I am personally convinced that the constant presence in the press of the sins of Catholic priests, especially in the United States, is a planned campaign, as the percentage of these offenses among priests is not higher than in other categories, and perhaps it is even lower.
  • In the United States, there is constant news on this topic, but less than 1 percent of priests are guilty of acts of this type. The constant presence of these news items does not correspond to the objectivity of the information nor to the statistical objectivity of the facts.
    • from "Cardinal Ratzinger Sees a Media Campaign Against Church," Zenit.org, December 3, 2002.
  • I think the essential point is a weakness of faith.
    • from an interview with EWTN news director Raymond Arroyo in August 2003 as reported by Zenit.org, Aug. 24, 2003.

Marriage and parenthood

  • We have such difficulty understanding this renunciation today because the relationship to marriage and children has clearly shifted. To have to die without children was once synonymous with a useless life: The echoes of my own life die away, and I am completely dead. If I have children, then I continue to live in them; it's a sort of immortality through posterity. ...
  • The renunciation of marriage and family is thus to be understood in terms of this vision: I renounce what, humanly speaking, is not only the most normal but also the most important thing. I forgo bringing forth further life on the tree of life, and I live in the faith that my land is really God - and so I make it easier for others, also, to believe that there is a kingdom of heaven. I bear witness to Jesus Christ, to the Gospel, not only with words, but also with this specific mode of existence, and I place my life in this form at his disposal.
    • from "Salt of the Earth: Christianity and the Catholic Church at the end of the Millennium: An interview with Peter Seewald," by Ratzinger, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1997.
  • ... Celibacy is not a matter of compulsion. Someone is accepted as a priest only when he does it of his own accord.
    • from "Salt of the Earth: Christianity and the Catholic Church at the end of the Millennium: An interview with Peter Seewald," by Ratzinger, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1997.

Homosexuality

  • The obscuring of the difference or duality of the sexes has enormous consequences on a variety of levels. This theory of the human person, intended to promote prospects for equality of women through liberation from biological determinism, has in reality inspired ideologies which, for example, call into question the family, in its natural two-parent structure of mother and father, and make homosexuality and heterosexuality virtually equivalent, in a new model of polymorphous sexuality.
  • Among the fundamental values linked to women's actual lives is what has been called a 'capacity for the other.' Although a certain type of feminist rhetoric makes demands 'for ourselves,' women preserve the deep intuition of the goodness in their lives of those actions which elicit life, and contribute to the growth and protection of the other. . . . But, in the final analysis, every human being, man or woman, is destined to be 'for the other.' . . . Therefore, the promotion of women within society must be understood and desired as a humanization accomplished through those values, rediscovered thanks to women. Every outlook which presents itself as a conflict between the sexes is only an illusion and a danger; it would end in segregation and competition between men and women, and would promote a solipsism nourished by a false conception of freedom.
    • Doctrinal document On the Collaboration of Men and Women in the Church and in the World, July 31, 2004
  • ...According to the teaching of the Church, men and women with homosexual tendencies 'must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided'. They are called, like other Christians, to live the virtue of chastity. The homosexual inclination is however 'objectively disordered' and homosexual practices are 'sins gravely contrary to chastity'.
  • In those situations where homosexual unions have been legally recognized or have been given the legal status and rights belonging to marriage, clear and emphatic opposition is a duty. One must refrain from any kind of formal cooperation in the enactment or application of such gravely unjust laws and, as far as possible, from material cooperation on the level of their application. In this area, everyone can exercise the right to conscientious objection.
    • Doctrinal document Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions between Homosexual Persons, July 31, 2003

Ratzinger's "Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons," 1986, as reported by National Catholic Reporter

  • Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered to an intrinsic moral evil, and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder.
  • 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... The intrinsic dignity of each person must always be respected in work, in action and in law.

"Cardinal Ratzinger on Laicism and Sexual Ethics," Zenit.org, Nov. 19, 2004:

  • ...Men and women were created to be jointly the guarantee of the future of the humanity — not only a physical guarantee, but also a moral one.
  • Above all, we must have great respect for these people who also suffer and who want to find their own way of correct living. On the other hand, to create a legal form of a kind of homosexual marriage, in reality, does not help these people.
  • Because God loves us, because He wants us to grow into truth, He must necessarily make demands on us and must also correct us

On his papacy

  • I too hope in this short reign to be a man of peace.
    • Explaining to the cardinals his choice of name after Pope Benedict XV who worked against World War I.

On popular culture

  • "Rock" [music]. . . is the expression of elemental passions, and at rock festivals it assumes a cultic character, a form of worship, in fact, in opposition to Christian worship. People are, so to speak, released from themselves by the experience of being part of a crowd and by the emotional shock of rhythm, noise, and special lighting effects. However, in the ecstasy of having all their defenses torn down, the participants sink, as it were, beneath the elemental force of the universe.
    • The Spirit of the Liturgy, 2000
  • It is good, that you enlighten people about Harry Potter, because those are subtle seductions, which act unnoticed and by this deeply distort Christianity in the soul, before it can grow properly.
    • Letter to Gabriele Kuby author of Harry Potter- good or evil? signed by Ratzinger, but which he now claims was written by a subordinate, March 7, 2003

On relativism

  • Having a clear faith, based on the creed of the church, is often labeled today as a fundamentalism. ... Whereas relativism, which is letting oneself be tossed and 'swept along by every wind of teaching,' looks like the only attitude acceptable to today's standards.
  • 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... The church needs to withstand the tides of trends and the latest novelties.... We must become mature in this adult faith, we must guide the flock of Christ to this faith.
    • At a Mass at St. Peter's Basilica before the conclave of cardinals

World Youth Day 2008, held in Australia

Young Pilgrims (13/07/08)

  • Many people today lack hope. They are perplexed by the questions that present themselves ever more urgently in a confusing world, and they are often uncertain which way to turn for answers. They see poverty and injustice and they long to find solutions. They are challenged by the arguments of those who deny the existence of God and they wonder how to respond.. Where can we look for answers? The Spirit points us towards the way that leads to life, to love and to truth. The Spirit points us towards Jesus Christ. In him we find the answers we are seeking.

Government House Ceremony (16/07/08)

  • Through the Spirit's action may the young people gathered here have the courage to become saints! This is what the world needs more than anything else.

Inter-religious Meeting (17/07/08)

  • A harmonious relationship between religion and public life is all the more important at a time when some people have come to consider religion a cause of division rather than a force for unity. In a world threatened by sinister and indiscriminate forms of violence, the unified voice of religious people urges nations and communities to resolve conflicts through peaceful means and with full regard for human dignity.
  • The religious sense planted within the human heart leads us to meet the needs of others and to search for concrete ways to contribute to the common good. Religion has a special role in this regard, for it teaches people that authentic service requires sacrifice and self-discipline, which in turn must be cultivated through self-denial, temperance and a moderate use of the world's goods.
  • By reminding us of human finitude and weakness, religion also enjoins us not to place our ultimate hope in this passing world.
  • The true source of freedom is found in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. Christians believe it is he who fully discloses the human potential for virtue and goodness, and it is he who liberates us from sin and darkness.
  • You might think that in today's world people are unlikely to start worshipping other gods. But sometimes people do worship 'other gods' without realizing it. False 'gods' are nearly always associated with the worship of three things: material possessions, possessive love, or power.

Papal Welcome (17/07/08)

  • There is something sinister that stems from the fact that freedom and tolerance are so often separated from truth. This is fuelled by the notion, widely held today, that there are no absolute truths to guide our lives. Relativism, by indiscriminately giving value to practically everything, has made 'experience' all-important.
  • Life is not governed by chance; it is not random. Your very existence has been willed by God, blessed and given a purpose! Life is not just a succession of events or experiences. It is a search for the true, the good and the beautiful. It is to this end that we make our choices; it is for this that we exercise our freedom; it is in this - in truth, in goodness, and in beauty - that we find happiness and joy.
  • Do not be fooled by those who see you as just another consumer in a market of undifferentiated possibilities, where choice itself becomes the good, novelty usurps beauty, and subjective experience displaces truth.
  • Christ offers more! Indeed he offers everything! Only he who is the Truth can be the Way and hence also the Life.

Disadvantaged Youth (18/07/08)

  • Material possessions in themselves are good. We would not survive for long without money, clothing, shelter and food. Yet if we refuse to share what we have with the hungry and the poor, we make of our possessions a false god. How many voices in our materialist society tell us that happiness is to be found by acquiring as many possessions and luxuries as we can! But this is to make possessions into a false god. Instead of bringing life, they bring death.
  • Authentic love is obviously something good. When we love we become most fully human. But people often consider themselves loving when actually they are possessive or manipulative. People sometimes treat others as objects to satisfy their own needs. How easy it is to be deceived by the many voices in our society that advocate a permissive approach to sexuality, without regard for modesty, self-respect or the moral values that bring quality into human relationships! This is worship of a false god; instead of bringing life, it brings death.
  • All through the Gospels, it was those who had taken wrong turns who were particularly loved by Jesus because once they recognized their mistake, they were all the more open to his healing message. It was those who were willing to rebuild their lives who were most ready to listen to Jesus and become his disciples. You can follow in their footsteps; you too can grow particularly close to Jesus because you have chosen to return to him.

Mass with the Clergy (18/07/08)

  • We can be tempted to make the life of faith a matter of mere sentiment, thus blunting its power to inspire a consistent vision of the world and a rigorous dialogue with the many other visions competing for the minds and hearts of our contemporaries.
  • Walk in Christ's light daily through fidelity to personal and liturgical prayer, nourished by meditation on the inspired word of God.. Make the daily celebration of the Eucharist the center of your life.
  • Celibacy for the sake of the Kingdom means embracing a life completely devoted to love, a love that enables you to commit yourselves fully to God's service and to be totally present to your brothers and sisters, especially those in need.

Youth Day Vigil (19/07/08)

  • Society today is being fragmented by a way of thinking that is inherently short-sighted because it disregards the full horizon of truth - the truth about God and about us. By its nature, relativism fails to see the whole picture. It ignores the very principles that enable us to live and flourish in unity, order and harmony.
  • The Holy Spirit! This is the Spirit's role: to bring Christ's work to fulfillment. Enriched with the Spirit's gifts, you will have the power to move beyond the piecemeal, the hollow utopia, the fleeting, to offer the consistency and certainty of Christian witness!
  • Love has a particular trait: it has a task or purpose to fulfill - to abide. By its nature, love is enduring. The Holy Spirit offers our world love that dispels uncertainty; love that overcomes the fear of betrayal; love that carries eternity within; the true love that draws us into a unity that abides!
  • The Holy Spirit is God eternally giving himself; like a never-ending spring he pours forth nothing less than himself. In view of this ceaseless gift, we come to see the limitations of all that perishes, the folly of the consumerist mindset. We begin to understand why the quest for novelty leaves us unsatisfied and wanting. Are we not looking for an eternal gift? For the spring that will never run dry?
  • Dear young people, we have seen that it is the Holy Spirit who brings about the wonderful communion of believers in Jesus Christ. True to his nature as giver and gift alike, he is even now working through you. Let unifying love be your measure; abiding love your challenge; self-giving love your mission!
  • You are called to exercise the Spirit's gifts amidst the ups and downs of your daily life. Let your faith mature through your studies, work, sports, music and art. Let it be sustained by prayer and nurtured by the sacraments.
  • To be truly alive is to be transformed from within, open to the energy of God's love. In accepting the power of the Holy Spirit you can also transform your families, communities and nations. Set free the gifts! Let wisdom, courage, awe and reverence be the marks of greatness!

Closing Mass (19/07/08)

  • As the source of our new life in Christ, the Holy Spirit is also, in a very real way, the soul of the Church, the love that binds us to the Lord and to one another, and the light that opens our eyes to see all around us the wonders of God's grace.
  • We have to let God's love break through the hard crust of our indifference, our spiritual weariness, our blind conformity to the spirit of this age. Only then can we let it ignite our imagination and shape our deepest desires. That is why prayer is so important: daily prayer, private prayer in the quiet of our hearts and before the Blessed Sacrament, and liturgical prayer in the heart of the Church.
  • Dear young people: What will you leave to the next generation? Are you building your lives on firm foundations? Are you living in a way that opens a space for the Spirit in the midst of a world that wants to forget God, or even rejects him in the name of a falsely-conceived freedom? How are you using the gifts you have been given, the 'power' that the Holy Spirit is even now prepared to release within you?
  • A new generation of Christians is being called to help build a world in which God's gift of life is welcomed, respected and cherished-not rejected, feared as a threat and destroyed. A new age in which love is not greedy or self-seeking, but pure, faithful and genuinely free, open to others, respectful of their dignity, seeking their good, radiating joy and beauty - a new age in which hope liberates us from the shallowness, apathy and self-absorption that deaden our souls and poison our relationships.
  • Dear young friends, the Lord is asking you to be prophets of this new age, messengers of his love, drawing people to the Father and building a future of hope for all humanity.
  • The world needs this renewal! In so many of our societies, side by side with material prosperity, a spiritual desert is spreading interior emptiness, unnamed fears, a quiet sense of despair. How many of our contemporaries have built broken and empty cisterns in a desperate search for meaning - the ultimate meaning that only love can give?....The Church also needs this renewal! She needs your faith, your idealism and your generosity, so that she can always be young in the Spirit!
  • Do not be afraid to say 'yes' to Jesus, to find your joy in doing his will, giving yourself completely to the pursuit of holiness, and using all your talents in the service of others!
  • "There is more joy in giving than in receiving." Never doubt the truth of our Lord's promise that whatever we give him of our creativity, our resources, our persons, will come back to us in abundance.

Angelus following the Closing Mass (19/07/08)

  • For [the Virgin] Mary there were many struggles ahead as she lived out the consequences of the 'yes' she had given to the Lord. Simeon prophesied that a sword would pierce her heart. When Jesus was twelve she experienced every parent's worst nightmare when for three days the child was missing. And after his public ministry she suffered the agony of witnessing his crucifixion and death. Throughout her trials she remained faithful to her promise, sustained by the Spirit of fortitude. And she was generously rewarded.
  • We too must remain faithful to the 'yes' we have given to the Lord's offer of friendship. We know that he will never abandon us. We know that he will always sustain us through the gifts of the Spirit. Mary accepted the Lord's' proposal' in our name. So let us turn to her and ask her to guide us as we struggle to remain faithful to the life-giving relationship God has established with each one of us.
  • The time has come for me to say good-bye-or better, 'arrivederci!'. World Youth Day 2011 will take place in Madrid, Spain. Until then, let us continue to pray for one another, and let us joyfully bear witness to Christ before the world.

Various

  • If the divorced are remarried civilly, they find themselves in a situation that objectively contravenes God's law. Consequently, they cannot receive Holy Communion as long as this situation persists. This norm is not at all a punishment or a discrimination against the divorced and remarried, but rather expresses an objective situation that of itself renders impossible the reception of Holy Communion: '. . . If these people were admitted to the Eucharist, the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the Church's teaching about the indissolubility of marriage'.
    • Letter to bishops, Sept. 14, 1994
  • After the Second Vatican Council, the impression arose that the pope really could do anything in liturgical matters, especially if he were acting on the mandate of an ecumenical council. Eventually, the idea of the givenness of the liturgy, the fact that one cannot do with it what one will, faded from the public consciousness of the West. In fact, the First Vatican Council had in no way defined the pope as an absolute monarch. On the contrary, it presented him as the guarantor of obedience to the revealed Word. The pope's authority is bound to the Tradition of faith, and that also applies to the liturgy. It is not "manufactured" by the authorities. Even the pope can only be a humble servant of its lawful development and abiding integrity and identity. . . . The authority of the pope is not unlimited; it is at the service of Sacred Tradition. . . . The greatness of the liturgy depends - we shall have to repeat this frequently — on its unspontaneity.
    • The Spirit of the Liturgy, 2000
  • Wherever applause breaks out in the liturgy because of some human achievement, it is a sure sign that the essence of liturgy has totally disappeared and been replaced by a kind of religious entertainment. Such attraction fades quickly - it cannot compete in the market of leisure pursuits, incorporating as it increasingly does various forms of religious titillation.
    • The Spirit of the Liturgy, 2000
  • Unspontaneity is of their essence. In these rites I discover that something is approaching me here that I did not produce myself, that I am entering into something greater than myself, which ultimately derives from divine revelation. This is why the Christian East calls the liturgy the "Divine Liturgy", expressing thereby the liturgy's independence from human control.
    • The Spirit of the Liturgy, 2000
  • The ecclesial communities which have not preserved the valid Episcopate and the genuine and integral substance of the Eucharistic mystery, are not Churches in the proper sense; however, those who are baptized in these communities are, by Baptism, incorporated in Christ and thus are in a certain communion, albeit imperfect, with the Church.
    • Dominus Jesus declaration, 2000
  • A Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present himself for holy Communion, if he were to deliberately vote for a candidate precisely because of the candidate's permissive stand on abortion and/or euthanasia. When a Catholic does not share a candidate's stand in favor of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons.
    • 2004 memorandum to Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick of Washington, D.C.
  • We can be sure our beloved pope is standing today at the window of the father's house, that he sees us and blesses us. Yes, bless us, Holy Father. We entrust your dear soul to the Mother of God, your Mother, who guided you each day and who will now guide you to the glory of her son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
  • Today we bury his remains in the earth as a seed of immortality. Our hearts are full of sadness, yet at the same time (full) of joyful hope and profound gratitude.
    • homily during the Requiem Mass of the funeral of Pope John Paul II, on April 8, 2005.
  • There really is an ideological, secular aggressiveness that gives cause to worry. Recently in Sweden a Protestant parson was put into jail for one month because - referring to biblical texts - he preached about homosexuality. Laicism is not any longer that element of neutrality that opens fields of freedom for everybody. It’s now turning into an ideology, which – with the help of politics – forces itself into the public and leaves no space for the Christian and Catholic conception – thereby turning it into a merely private and essentially mutilated concern. In this sense a fight has really begun in which we have to defend the religious freedom against the pretension of an ideology, that acts as if it were the only voice of reason – whereas it is only the expression of “a certain” rationalism. ... ... A society that is not at all concerned with God destroys itself. We saw that in the totalitarian experiments of the last century.
    • in an interview in the German newspaper Die Welt, April 20, 2005
  • Dear brothers and sisters after the great Pope, John Paul II, the cardinals have elected me, a simple and humble worker in the Lord's vineyard. The fact that the Lord can work and act even with insufficient means consoles me, and above all I entrust myself to your prayers. In the joy of the resurrected Lord, we go on with his help. He is going to help us and Mary will be on our side. Thank you
    • Full text of his first public speech as pope, upon his presentation as Pope Benedict XVI
  • As the trend in the ballots slowly made me realize that — in a manner of speaking the guillotine would fall on me — I started to feel quite dizzy. I thought that I had done my life's work and could now hope to live out my days in peace. I told the Lord with deep conviction, 'Don't do this to me. You have younger and better (candidates) who could take up this great task with a totally different energy and with different strength.' Evidently, this time he didn't listen to me.
    • Comments on his election during his first audience with German pilgrims, original comments given in German.
  • The ways of the Lord are not comfortable, but we were not created for comfort, but for greatness, for good.
    • Comments during his first audience with German pilgrims
  • Pray for me, that I may not flee for fear of the wolves.
    • Inauguration homily, April 24, 2005
  • Unlimited trust should only be placed in the real Word of the Revelation that we encounter in the faith transmitted by the Church.
    • During interview by Niels Christian Hvidt in 1999
  • We do not seek a Christ whom we have invented, for only in the real communion of the Church do we encounter the real Christ.
    • unidentified source
  • A world marked by so much injustice, innocent suffering, and cynicism of power cannot be the work of a good God.
    • expressing the views of atheism in the Encyclical Letter SPE SALVI of the Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI to the Bishops Priests and Deacons Men and Women Religious and All the Lay Faithful On Christian Hope, November 30, 2007

About

  • The pope understands this eternal truth: Societies cannot endure for long without a belief in God and a submission to His will. We are ignoring him at our peril.

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