Joseph Ratzinger was born on 16 April 1927 in Marktl am Inn, Germany. He was ordained a priest on 29 June 1951 and began to teach. He studied philosophy and theology at the University of Munich and at the higher school in Freising. In 1953 he obtained a doctorate in theology and four years later, he qualified as a university teacher.He then taught dogma and fundamental theology at Freising, then in Bonn from 1959 to 1969, in Münster from 1963 to 1966, and in Tübingen from 1966 to 1969. From 1969, he was a professor of dogmatic theology and history of dogma at the University of Regensburg and vice president of the same university.
He was named Cardinal of Munich by Paul VIon 27 June 1977, and relator of the 5th General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in 1980. On 25 November 1981, he was named by Pope John Paul II as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, President of the Biblical Commission and also of the Pontifical International Theological Commission.
Ratzinger was President Delegate to the 6th Synodal Assembly in 1983, and was elected Vice Dean of the College of Cardinals on 6 November 1998, and on 30 November 2002, named Dean of the same. He subsequently was president of the Commission for the Preparation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and after 6 years of work (1986-92), he presented the New Catechism to the Holy Father. Finally, he was elected Pope Benedict XVI on 19 April 2005 by the College of Cardinals after the death of Pope John Paul II.
Pope Benedict XVI, as Cardinal Ratzinger, was a close friend of Pope John Paul II and may even have been his personal choice to follow him as the leader of the Catholic Church. He was closer to the late Pope perhaps more than anyone else was. On Tuesdays he and members of the Congregation had an hour and half lunch meetings with John Paul II, and on Friday evenings they met alone to discuss critical problems facing the Church and the deliberations of the Congregation.
As John Paul II's chief doctrinal officer and key advisor, Cardinal Ratzinger had been Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith since 1981. With the exception of John Paul II, he is widely considered the most revered prelate, scholar, theologian, teacher, and Catholic author of our time. He has published several bestselling books that fully clarify faith practice and Catholic doctrine, including The Ratzinger Report (1985); Salt of the Earth (1996);
The Spirit of the Liturgy (2000); and God and the World (2002); in addition, he presented the New Catechism to John Paul II in 1992. Pope Benedict XVI is known to have the strength, intellect, piety, humility, and willingness to face head on the issues that try to undermine and dilute the Catholic faith on a daily basis. His choice as Pope reflects the fact that the majority of the cardinals see in him the spiritual and intellectual qualities needed to continue steering the course John Paul II set for the Church to bring back to God a world that has strayed far from the demands of morality, justice, and human decency.
Pope Benedict XVI has the strength, intellect, piety, humility, and willingness to face head on the issues that try to undermine and dilute the Catholic faith on a daily basis.
Many of the most vexing questions and debates of the past half-century in the Catholic Church have been\ about how to interpret Vatican II. Those who believe in the traditional values of the Church will be happy with the election of Benedict XVI because his views are similar in many respects to those of his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, especially in maintaining traditional Catholic doctrines. Pope Benedict XVI is firmly opposed to birth control, abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality, and the ordination of women, and supports the celibacy of the priesthood. In fact, there are few Catholic controversies of recent years on which Pope Benedict XVI (as Cardinal Ratzinger who ran the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) has not expressed his views forcibly. Those who want doctrinal change in the Church, on the other hand, will not be very happy. As is their way, all types of media seem to thrive on criticism and disparagement, so the reformists will have many outlets for their individual agendas. They will make sure his papacy at least starts with a battle, but even his foes admit he is eager for dialogue, sensitive, honest, and a natural communicator and a thinker upon challenging ideas.
He knows of Garabandal. Not only has he met Conchita, he has all the papers, testimonies of miracles, etc. performed through the intercession of Our Lady of Garabandal, sent to him by the wellknown promoter and lover of Our Lady, the late Fr. Francis Benac, S.J.
It is worthwhile to note that the last Pope Benedict reigned during the First World War. He is credited with settling animosity between the traditionalists and modernists and wanted to bring about a reunion with the Orthodox Christians. The Garabandal Miracle promises a reunion of all the churches. Let us pray it is in the reign of Benedict XVI!
When John Paul II was elected, the focus was on East-West relations, and the Polish pope was credited with helping to bring down political communism. Let us pray that Benedict XVI can help stop the invisible cloud of atheistic communism that is spreading throughout the whole world, both east and west.
This man is not a radical, nor an enforcer. He is not a cop or a rottweiler. He is a serious, humble, educated, pious, and brave man. He is guided by the Holy Spirit, under the mantle of Our Blessed Mother. He is the leader of a billion Catholics throughout the world.
He Is Pope Benedict XVI.
He Is Christ's Vicar On Earth.
He Is A Gift From God.
Excerpted from Garabandal International July-September 2005
Reprinted with kind permission
by Kevin Sharpe