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Benedetto XVI: Biography

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    ​Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger became the 265th pope on May 7th, 2005. As Pope Benedict XVI he is the Bishop of Rome, the Sovereign of the Vatican City State and the leader of the Catholic Church and 22 other Eastern Catholic Churches.

    Until John Paul’s death, Pope Benedict XVI was Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, President of the Pontifical Biblical Commission and of International Theological Commission, and Dean of the College of Cardinals.

    Pope Benedict XVI was born on 16 April 1927 in Marktl am Inn, in the diocese of Passau, Bavaria (Germany).
    His father, a police officer, came from a traditional family of farmers from Lower Bavaria.
    He spent his teen-age years in Traunstein, and was called into the auxiliary anti-aircraft service in the last months of World War II.
    From 1946 to 1951, the year in which he was ordained a priest and began to teach, he studied philosophy and theology at the University of Munich and at Advanced Institute of Philosophy and Theology in Freising.
    In 1953 he obtained a doctorate in theology with a thesis entitled The People and House of God in St Augustine’s doctrine of the Church.
    Four years later, he qualified as a university professor with a dissertation on The Theology of the History of St Bonaventure.
    He then taught dogmatics and fundamental theology at Freising’s Advanced Institute of philosophy and theology before moving to Bonn from 1959 to 1969, Münster from 1963 to 1966, and Tübingen from 1966 to 1969.
    In 1969, he was appointed professor of dogmatic theology and of the history of dogmas at the University of Regensburg and Vice President of the same university.
    Already well known in 1962 he served as a theological advisor to Cardinal Joseph Frings, Archbishop of Cologne, during the Second Vatican Council where he made his mark.
    In 1968, he published Introduction to Christianity, a collection of university lectures on the profession of the apostolic faith and Dogmas and revelation, an anthology of essays, sermons and reflections dedicated to the pastoral ministry, published in 1973.
    Still remembered is his address to the Bavarian Catholic Academy on the issue Why I am still in the Church? in which he said that “one can be Christian only inside the Church, not beside her”.
    In 1985, he signed Report on Faith and in 1996 his interview with Peter Seewald was published as Salt of the Earth: The Church at the End of the Century.
    On March 24, 1977, Paul VI named him Archbishop of Munich und Freising. Just two months later, on 28 May, he was the first diocesan priest after 80 years to be consecrated to the pastoral ministry of this large Bavarian diocese.
    Paul VI also elevated him to the rank of cardinal in the consistory of June 27, 1977: titular church of S. Maria Consolatrice al Tiburtino. He was later name to the two other titular churches, the suburbicarian (neighbouring) sees of Velletri-Segni (April 5, 1993) and of Ostia (November 30, 2002).
    He was relater to the 5th General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (1980) on the topic of Responsibilities of the Christian family in today’s world, served as President Delegate to the 6th Synodal Assembly (1983) dedicated to Reconciliation and penance in the mission of the Church.
    On November 25, 1981, Pope John Paul II named him Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, President of the Pontifical Biblical Commission and of International Theological Commission.
    On April 5, 1993, he joined the
    Vatican City (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Until John Paul’s death, Pope Benedict XVI was Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, President of the Pontifical Biblical Commission and of International Theological Commission, and Dean of the College of Cardinals.
    Pope Benedict XVI was born on 16 April 1927 in Marktl am Inn, in the diocese of Passau, Bavaria (Germany).
    His father, a police officer, came from a traditional family of farmers from Lower Bavaria.
    He spent his teen-age years in Traunstein, and was called into the auxiliary anti-aircraft service in the last months of World War II.
    From 1946 to 1951, the year in which he was ordained a priest and began to teach, he studied philosophy and theology at the University of Munich and at Advanced Institute of Philosophy and Theology in Freising.
    In 1953 he obtained a doctorate in theology with a thesis entitled The People and House of God in St Augustine’s doctrine of the Church.
    Four years later, he qualified as a university professor with a dissertation on The Theology of the History of St Bonaventure.
    He then taught dogmatics and fundamental theology at Freising’s Advanced Institute of philosophy and theology before moving to Bonn from 1959 to 1969, Münster from 1963 to 1966, and Tübingen from 1966 to 1969.
    In 1969, he was appointed professor of dogmatic theology and of the history of dogmas at the University of Regensburg and Vice President of the same university.
    Already well known in 1962 he served as a theological advisor to Cardinal Joseph Frings, Archbishop of Cologne, during the Second Vatican Council where he made his mark.
    In 1968, he published Introduction to Christianity, a collection of university lectures on the profession of the apostolic faith and Dogmas and revelation, an anthology of essays, sermons and reflections dedicated to the pastoral ministry, published in 1973.
    Still remembered is his address to the Bavarian Catholic Academy on the issue Why I am still in the Church? in which he said that “one can be Christian only inside the Church, not beside her”.
    In 1985, he signed Report on Faith and in 1996 his interview with Peter Seewald was published as Salt of the Earth: The Church at the End of the Century.
    On March 24, 1977, Paul VI named him Archbishop of Munich und Freising. Just two months later, on 28 May, he was the first diocesan priest after 80 years to be consecrated to the pastoral ministry of this large Bavarian diocese.
    Paul VI also elevated him to the rank of cardinal in the consistory of June 27, 1977: titular church of S. Maria Consolatrice al Tiburtino. He was later name to the two other titular churches, the suburbicarian (neighbouring) sees of Velletri-Segni (April 5, 1993) and of Ostia (November 30, 2002).
    He was relater to the 5th General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (1980) on the topic of Responsibilities of the Christian family in today’s world, served as President Delegate to the 6th Synodal Assembly (1983) dedicated to Reconciliation and penance in the mission of the Church.
    On November 25, 1981, Pope John Paul II named him Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, President of the Pontifical Biblical Commission and of International Theological Commission.
    On April 5, 1993, he joined the Order of Cardinal Bishops: titular of the suburbicarian see of Velletri-Segni.
    On November 6, 1998, he was elected Vice Dean of the College of Cardinals and four years later, on 30 November 2002, the Holy Father approved his election by the Order of Cardinal Bishops to the post of Dean of the College of Cardinals.
    He chaired the Commission for the Preparation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and after 6 years of work (1986-92) presented the New Catechism to the Holy Father.
    On November 10, 1999, he was awarded a Laurea honoris causa in jurisprudence from the Libera Università Maria Santissima Assunta.
    Since November 13, 2000, he has been an honorary member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.
    He read the homily during John Paul II’s funeral.
    Order of Cardinal Bishops: titular of the suburbicarian see of Velletri-Segni.
    On November 6, 1998, he was elected Vice Dean of the College of Cardinals and four years later, on 30 November 2002, the Holy Father approved his election by the Order of Cardinal Bishops to the post of Dean of the College of Cardinals.
    He chaired the Commission for the Preparation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and after 6 years of work (1986-92) presented the New Catechism to the Holy Father.
    On November 10, 1999, he was awarded a Laurea honoris causa in jurisprudence from the Libera Università Maria Santissima Assunta.
    Since November 13, 2000, he has been an honorary member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.
    He read the homily during John Paul II’s funeral.