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Joseph Ratzinger

Benedict XVI.


Biography of Pope Benedict XVI.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith , President of the Pontifical Biblical Commission and International Theological Commission, Dean of the College of Cardinals, was born on 16 April 1927 in Marktl am Inn (Bavaria), Germany. He was ordained a priest on 29 June 1951.

Biographical notes:

Josef Ratzinger is born on April 16, Holy Saturday, and is baptized that day. His father is a rural policeman.

Josef Ratzinger enrolls in the seminary in Traunstein.

Josef Ratzinger joins the Hitler Youth, as is required of all German youth when they reach the age of 14.

Josef Ratzinger and his seminary class are drafted into an anti-aircraft unit of the German army. He would be released the next year and then drafted into the Austrian Legion, an infamous group that brutalized others.

In the Spring, Josef Ratzinger deserts the military and goes home to Traunstein.

Josef Ratzinger enrolls in the Herzogliches Georgianum, a theological school in Munich.

Josef Ratzinger is ordained into the priesthood on June 29.

In July, Josef Ratzinger is awarded a doctorate in theology by the University of Munich.

On August 23, Josef Ratzinger's father dies.

1962 - 1965
Josef Ratzinger participates in all four sessions of the Second Vatican Council as chief theological advisor to Cardinal Josef Frings of Cologne, Germany.

On December 16, Josef Ratzinger's mother dies.

Josef Ratzinger becomes chair of dogmatic theology at the University of Tübingen, a position supported by his friend professor Hans Küng.

European campuses are swept up in a series of student uprisings driven in large part by Marxist ideologies.

On March 24, Josef Ratzinger becomes Archbishop of Munich and Freising. He would be ordained May 28.

On June 27, Josef Ratzinger is made Cardinal of Munich by Pope Paul VI.

On November 25, Josef Ratzinger is named by Pope John Paul II as Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Pope John Paul II names Josef Ratzinger a Cardinal Bishop of the episcopal see of Velletri-Segni.

Josef Ratzinger is named vice-dean of the College of Cardinals.

In November, Josef Ratzinger is elected dean of the College of Cardinals. This means that he is now also Cardinal Bishop of Ostia.

On April 19, Josef Ratzinger is elected pope and adopts the name Pope Benedict XVI, evidently in honor of St. Benedict, founder of western monasticism, and Pope Benedict XV, leader of the Catholic church during World War I.

News in German:
More information:
Official homepage of the Vatican: www.vatican.va

Papst Benedikt XVI.
Pope Benedict XVI.