Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI

Overview
Benedict XVI is the 265th and current Pope
Pope
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

, by virtue of his office of Bishop of Rome, the Sovereign
Monarch
A monarch is the person who heads a monarchy. This is a form of government in which a state or polity is ruled or controlled by an individual who typically inherits the throne by birth and occasionally rules for life or until abdication...

 of the Vatican City State
Vatican City
Vatican City , or Vatican City State, in Italian officially Stato della Città del Vaticano , which translates literally as State of the City of the Vatican, is a landlocked sovereign city-state whose territory consists of a walled enclave within the city of Rome, Italy. It has an area of...

 and the leader of the Catholic Church as well as the other 22 sui iuris
Sui iuris
Sui iuris, commonly also spelled sui juris, is a Latin phrase that literally means “of one’s own laws”.-Secular law:In civil law the phrase sui juris indicates legal competence, the capacity to manage one’s own affairs...

 Eastern Catholic Churches in full communion
Full communion
In Christian ecclesiology, full communion is a relationship between church organizations or groups that mutually recognize their sharing the essential doctrines....

 with the Holy See
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

. He was elected on 19 April 2005 in a papal conclave
Papal conclave, 2005
The Papal conclave of 2005 was convened as a result of the death of Pope John Paul II on 2 April 2005. After his death, the cardinals who were in Rome met and set a date for the beginning of the conclave to elect John Paul's successor. The conclave began on 18 April 2005 and ended on the following...

, celebrated his Papal Inauguration
Papal Inauguration
The Papal Inauguration is a liturgical service of the Catholic Church within Mass celebrated in the Roman Rite but with elements of Byzantine Rite for the ecclesiastical investiture of the Pope...

 Mass on 24 April 2005, and took possession of his cathedral, the Basilica of St. John Lateran
Basilica of St. John Lateran
The Papal Archbasilica of St. John Lateran , commonly known as St. John Lateran's Archbasilica and St. John Lateran's Basilica, is the cathedral of the Diocese of Rome and the official ecclesiastical seat of the Bishop of Rome, who is the Pope...

, on 7 May 2005.
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Unanswered Questions
Quotations

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.

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

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
Encyclopedia
Benedict XVI is the 265th and current Pope
Pope
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

, by virtue of his office of Bishop of Rome, the Sovereign
Monarch
A monarch is the person who heads a monarchy. This is a form of government in which a state or polity is ruled or controlled by an individual who typically inherits the throne by birth and occasionally rules for life or until abdication...

 of the Vatican City State
Vatican City
Vatican City , or Vatican City State, in Italian officially Stato della Città del Vaticano , which translates literally as State of the City of the Vatican, is a landlocked sovereign city-state whose territory consists of a walled enclave within the city of Rome, Italy. It has an area of...

 and the leader of the Catholic Church as well as the other 22 sui iuris
Sui iuris
Sui iuris, commonly also spelled sui juris, is a Latin phrase that literally means “of one’s own laws”.-Secular law:In civil law the phrase sui juris indicates legal competence, the capacity to manage one’s own affairs...

 Eastern Catholic Churches in full communion
Full communion
In Christian ecclesiology, full communion is a relationship between church organizations or groups that mutually recognize their sharing the essential doctrines....

 with the Holy See
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

. He was elected on 19 April 2005 in a papal conclave
Papal conclave, 2005
The Papal conclave of 2005 was convened as a result of the death of Pope John Paul II on 2 April 2005. After his death, the cardinals who were in Rome met and set a date for the beginning of the conclave to elect John Paul's successor. The conclave began on 18 April 2005 and ended on the following...

, celebrated his Papal Inauguration
Papal Inauguration
The Papal Inauguration is a liturgical service of the Catholic Church within Mass celebrated in the Roman Rite but with elements of Byzantine Rite for the ecclesiastical investiture of the Pope...

 Mass on 24 April 2005, and took possession of his cathedral, the Basilica of St. John Lateran
Basilica of St. John Lateran
The Papal Archbasilica of St. John Lateran , commonly known as St. John Lateran's Archbasilica and St. John Lateran's Basilica, is the cathedral of the Diocese of Rome and the official ecclesiastical seat of the Bishop of Rome, who is the Pope...

, on 7 May 2005. A native of Bavaria
Bavaria
Bavaria, formally the Free State of Bavaria is a state of Germany, located in the southeast of Germany. With an area of , it is the largest state by area, forming almost 20% of the total land area of Germany...

, Pope Benedict XVI has both German and Vatican citizenship.

After a long career as an academic, serving as a professor of theology at various German universities—most recently at the University of Regensburg
University of Regensburg
The University of Regensburg is a public research university located in the medieval city of Regensburg, Bavaria, a city that is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The university was founded on July 18, 1962 by the Landtag of Bavaria as the fourth full-fledged university in Bavaria...

—he was appointed Archbishop of Munich and Freising
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Munich and Freising
The Archdiocese of Munich and Freising is an ecclesiastical territory or diocese of the Roman Catholic Church in Bavaria, Germany. It is led by the prelature of the Archbishop of Munich, who administers the see from the mother church in Munich, the Frauenkirche, also known as Munich Cathedral...

 and cardinal
Cardinal (Catholicism)
A cardinal is a senior ecclesiastical official, usually an ordained bishop, and ecclesiastical prince of the Catholic Church. They are collectively known as the College of Cardinals, which as a body elects a new pope. The duties of the cardinals include attending the meetings of the College and...

 by Pope Paul VI
Pope Paul VI
Paul VI , born Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini , reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church from 21 June 1963 until his death on 6 August 1978. Succeeding Pope John XXIII, who had convened the Second Vatican Council, he decided to continue it...

 in 1977. In 1981, he settled in Rome when he became Prefect
Prefect
Prefect is a magisterial title of varying definition....

 of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith , previously known as the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition , and after 1904 called the Supreme...

, one of the most important offices of the Roman Curia
Roman Curia
The Roman Curia is the administrative apparatus of the Holy See and the central governing body of the entire Catholic Church, together with the Pope...

. From 2002 until his election as Pope, he was also Dean of the College of Cardinals
Dean of the College of Cardinals
The Dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals is the president of the College of Cardinals in the Roman Catholic Church, and as such always holds the rank of Cardinal Bishop. The Dean is not necessarily the longest-serving member of the whole College...

, and as such the primus inter pares
Primus inter pares
Primus inter pares is Latin phrase describing the most senior person of a group sharing the same rank or office.When not used in reference to a specific title, it may indicate that the person so described is formally equal, but looked upon as an authority of special importance by their peers...

among the cardinals. Prior to becoming Pope, he was "a major figure on the Vatican stage for a quarter of a century" as "one of the most respected, influential and controversial members of the College of Cardinals"; he had an influence "second to none when it came to setting church priorities and directions" as one of Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II
Blessed Pope John Paul II , born Karol Józef Wojtyła , reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church and Sovereign of Vatican City from 16 October 1978 until his death on 2 April 2005, at of age. His was the second-longest documented pontificate, which lasted ; only Pope Pius IX ...

's closest confidants.

Like his predecessor, Benedict XVI is theologically conservative and his teaching and prolific writings defend traditional Catholic doctrine
Doctrine
Doctrine is a codification of beliefs or a body of teachings or instructions, taught principles or positions, as the body of teachings in a branch of knowledge or belief system...

 and values. During his papacy, Benedict XVI has advocated a return to fundamental Christian values
Christian values
The term Christian values historically refers to the values found in the teachings of Jesus.The biblical teachings of Jesus include:* love of God: "You shall love the Lord your God with all of your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind" ,...

 to counter the increased secularisation
Secularism
Secularism is the principle of separation between government institutions and the persons mandated to represent the State from religious institutions and religious dignitaries...

 of many developed countries
Developed country
A developed country is a country that has a high level of development according to some criteria. Which criteria, and which countries are classified as being developed, is a contentious issue...

. He views relativism's
Relativism
Relativism is the concept that points of view have no absolute truth or validity, having only relative, subjective value according to differences in perception and consideration....

 denial of objective truth
Objectivity (philosophy)
Objectivity is a central philosophical concept which has been variously defined by sources. A proposition is generally considered to be objectively true when its truth conditions are met and are "mind-independent"—that is, not met by the judgment of a conscious entity or subject.- Objectivism...

, and the denial of moral truths
Moral relativism
Moral relativism may be any of several descriptive, meta-ethical, or normative positions. Each of them is concerned with the differences in moral judgments across different people and cultures:...

 in particular, as the central problem of the 21st century. He teaches the importance of both the Catholic Church and an understanding of God's redemptive love. He has reaffirmed the "importance of prayer in the face of the activism and the growing secularism of many Christians engaged in charitable work." Pope Benedict has also revived a number of traditions including elevating the Tridentine Mass
Tridentine Mass
The Tridentine Mass is the form of the Roman Rite Mass contained in the typical editions of the Roman Missal that were published from 1570 to 1962. It was the most widely celebrated Mass liturgy in the world until the introduction of the Mass of Paul VI in December 1969...

 to a more prominent position.

Overview



Benedict XVI was elected Pope at the age of 78. He is the oldest person to have been elected Pope since Pope Clement XII
Pope Clement XII
Pope Clement XII , born Lorenzo Corsini, was Pope from 12 July 1730 to 6 February 1740.Born in Florence, the son of Bartolomeo Corsini, Marquis of Casigliano and his wife Isabella Strozzi, sister of the Duke of Bagnuolo, Corsini had been an aristocratic lawyer and financial manager under preceding...

 (1730–40). He had served longer as a cardinal
Cardinal (Catholicism)
A cardinal is a senior ecclesiastical official, usually an ordained bishop, and ecclesiastical prince of the Catholic Church. They are collectively known as the College of Cardinals, which as a body elects a new pope. The duties of the cardinals include attending the meetings of the College and...

 than any Pope since Benedict XIII
Pope Benedict XIII
-Footnotes:...

 (1724–30). He is the ninth German Pope, the eighth having been the Dutch-German Pope Adrian VI
Pope Adrian VI
Pope Adrian VI , born Adriaan Florenszoon Boeyens, served as Pope from 9 January 1522 until his death some 18 months later...

 (1522–23) from Utrecht
Utrecht (city)
Utrecht city and municipality is the capital and most populous city of the Dutch province of Utrecht. It is located in the eastern corner of the Randstad conurbation, and is the fourth largest city of the Netherlands with a population of 312,634 on 1 Jan 2011.Utrecht's ancient city centre features...

. The last Pope named Benedict was Benedict XV
Pope Benedict XV
Pope Benedict XV , born Giacomo Paolo Giovanni Battista della Chiesa, reigned as Pope from 3 September 1914 to 22 January 1922...

, an Italian who reigned from 1914 to 1922, during World War I (1914–18).

Born in 1927 in Marktl, Bavaria, Germany, Ratzinger had a distinguished career as a university theologian
Theology
Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

 before being appointed Archbishop of Munich and Freising by Pope Paul VI
Pope Paul VI
Paul VI , born Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini , reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church from 21 June 1963 until his death on 6 August 1978. Succeeding Pope John XXIII, who had convened the Second Vatican Council, he decided to continue it...

 (1963–78). Shortly afterwards, he was made a cardinal in the consistory
Consistory
-Antiquity:Originally, the Latin word consistorium meant simply 'sitting together', just as the Greek synedrion ....

 of 27 June 1977. He was appointed Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith , previously known as the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition , and after 1904 called the Supreme...

 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
College of Cardinals
The College of Cardinals is the body of all cardinals of the Catholic Church.A function of the college is to advise the pope about church matters when he summons them to an ordinary consistory. It also convenes on the death or abdication of a pope as a papal conclave to elect a successor...

. And on 30 November 2002, he was elected dean, taking, as is customary, the title of Cardinal bishop of the suburbicarian diocese of Ostia
Bishop of Ostia
The Bishop of Ostia is the head of the Suburbicarian Diocese of Ostia, one of the seven suburbicarian sees of Rome. The position is now attached to the post of Dean of the College of Cardinals, as it has been since 1150, with the actual governance of the diocese entrusted to the Vicar General of...

. He was the first Dean of the College elected Pope since Paul IV
Pope Paul IV
Pope Paul IV, C.R. , né Giovanni Pietro Carafa, was Pope from 23 May 1555 until his death.-Early life:Giovanni Pietro Carafa was born in Capriglia Irpina, near Avellino, into a prominent noble family of Naples...

 (1555–59) and the first cardinal bishop elected Pope since Pius VIII
Pope Pius VIII
Pope Pius VIII , born Francesco Saverio Castiglioni was Pope in 1829 and 1830.-Biography:He was born in Cingoli, Marche, the son of Count Ottavio Castiglioni and his wife Sanzia Ghislieri. He studied Canon law and, in 1800 became bishop of Montalto...

 (1829–30).

Even before becoming Pope, Ratzinger was one of the most influential men in the Roman Curia
Roman Curia
The Roman Curia is the administrative apparatus of the Holy See and the central governing body of the entire Catholic Church, together with the Pope...

, 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
Sede vacante
Sede vacante is an expression, used in the Canon Law of the Catholic Church, that refers to the vacancy of the episcopal see of a particular church...

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 speaks French and Italian fluently. He also has a very good command of Latin and speaks English and Spanish adequately. Furthermore, he has some knowledge of Portuguese. He can read Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

 and biblical Hebrew
Hebrew language
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

. He has stated that his first foreign language is French. He is a member of several scientific academies, such as the French Académie des sciences morales et politiques. He plays the piano and has a preference for Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart , baptismal name Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart , was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical era. He composed over 600 works, many acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, concertante, chamber, piano, operatic, and choral music...

 and Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer, organist, harpsichordist, violist, and violinist whose sacred and secular works for choir, orchestra, and solo instruments drew together the strands of the Baroque period and brought it to its ultimate maturity...

.

Early life: 1927–51



Joseph Alois Ratzinger was born on 16 April, Holy Saturday
Holy Saturday
Holy Saturday , sometimes known as Easter Eve or Black Saturday, is the day after Good Friday. It is the day before Easter and the last day of Holy Week in which Christians prepare for Easter...

, 1927, at Schulstraße 11, at 8:30 in the morning in his parents' home in Marktl, Bavaria, Germany. He was baptised the same day. He was the third and youngest child of Joseph Ratzinger, Sr.
Joseph Ratzinger, Sr.
Joseph Ratzinger, Sr. was a German civil servant, policeman, and the father of Pope Benedict XVI , and Georg Ratzinger; he was also a nephew of the German politician Georg Ratzinger....

, a police officer, and Maria Ratzinger (née Peintner). His mother's family was originally from South Tyrol
South Tyrol
South Tyrol , also known by its Italian name Alto Adige, is an autonomous province in northern Italy. It is one of the two autonomous provinces that make up the autonomous region of Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol. The province has an area of and a total population of more than 500,000 inhabitants...

 (now in Italy). Pope Benedict XVI's brother, Georg Ratzinger
Georg Ratzinger
Georg Ratzinger, PA is a German Catholic priest and musician, known for his work as the conductor of the Regensburger Domspatzen, the cathedral choir of Regensburg, Germany. He is the elder brother of Pope Benedict XVI...

, a priest and former director of the Regensburger Domspatzen
Regensburger Domspatzen
The Regensburger Domspatzen is the official choir for the liturgical music at St Peter's Cathedral in Regensburg, Bavaria, Germany...

 choir, is still alive. His sister, Maria Ratzinger, who never married, managed Cardinal Ratzinger's household until her death in 1991. Their grand-uncle was the German politician Georg Ratzinger
Georg Ratzinger (politician)
Georg Ratzinger was a German Catholic priest, political economist, social reformer, author and politician...

.

At the age of five, Ratzinger was in a group of children who welcomed the visiting Cardinal Archbishop of Munich
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Munich and Freising
The Archdiocese of Munich and Freising is an ecclesiastical territory or diocese of the Roman Catholic Church in Bavaria, Germany. It is led by the prelature of the Archbishop of Munich, who administers the see from the mother church in Munich, the Frauenkirche, also known as Munich Cathedral...

 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 am Inn
Aschau am Inn
Aschau is a municipality in the district of Mühldorf in Bavaria in Germany. Pope Benedict XVI lived in Aschau with his family from 1932 to 1937....

, which was renamed in his honour in 2009.

Following his 14th birthday in 1941, Ratzinger was conscripted into the Hitler Youth
Hitler Youth
The Hitler Youth was a paramilitary organization of the Nazi Party. It existed from 1922 to 1945. The HJ was the second oldest paramilitary Nazi group, founded one year after its adult counterpart, the Sturmabteilung...

—as membership was required by law for all 14-year-old German boys after December 1939—but was an unenthusiastic member who refused to attend meetings, according to his brother. In 1941, one of Ratzinger's cousins, a 14-year-old boy with Down syndrome
Down syndrome
Down syndrome, or Down's syndrome, trisomy 21, is a chromosomal condition caused by the presence of all or part of an extra 21st chromosome. It is named after John Langdon Down, the British physician who described the syndrome in 1866. The condition was clinically described earlier in the 19th...

, was taken away by the Nazi regime and killed during the Aktion T4 campaign of Nazi eugenics
Nazi eugenics
Nazi eugenics were Nazi Germany's racially-based social policies that placed the improvement of the Aryan race through eugenics at the center of their concerns...

. In 1943, while still in seminary, he was drafted into the German anti-aircraft corps as Luftwaffenhelfer
Luftwaffenhelfer
Luftwaffenhelfer are terms commonly used for German students deployed as child soldiers during World War II....

. Ratzinger then trained in the German infantry. As the Allied front drew closer to his post in 1945, he deserted back to his family's home in Traunstein
Traunstein
Traunstein is a town in the south-eastern part of Bavaria, Germany, and is the administrative center of a district by the same name. It is situated at the heart of a region called Chiemgau, approximately 11 km east of Lake Chiemsee between Munich and Salzburg, 15 km north of the Alps, and...

 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
Prisoner of war
A prisoner of war or enemy prisoner of war is a person, whether civilian or combatant, who is held in custody by an enemy power during or immediately after an armed conflict...

 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.

Thus, following repatriation in 1945, the two brothers entered Saint Michael Seminary in Traunstein, later studying at the Ducal Georgianum
Ducal Georgianum
The Ducal Georgianum is a theological seminary of the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich. It was founded in 1494. Pope Benedict XVI studied at the Seminary until 1951. Brothers studying at the seminary affectionately call it "der dookie."...

 (Herzogliches Georgianum) of the Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich. They were both ordained in Freising
Freising
Freising is a town in Bavaria, Germany, and capital of the district Freising. Total population 48,500.The city is located north of Munich at the Isar river, near the Munich International Airport...

 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.


Ratzinger's 1953 dissertation was on St. Augustine
Augustine of Hippo
Augustine of Hippo , also known as Augustine, St. Augustine, St. Austin, St. Augoustinos, Blessed Augustine, or St. Augustine the Blessed, was Bishop of Hippo Regius . He was a Latin-speaking philosopher and theologian who lived in the Roman Africa Province...

 and was titled The People and the House of God in Augustine's Doctrine of the Church. His Habilitation
Habilitation
Habilitation is the highest academic qualification a scholar can achieve by his or her own pursuit in several European and Asian countries. Earned after obtaining a research doctorate, such as a PhD, habilitation requires the candidate to write a professorial thesis based on independent...

 (which qualified him for a professorship) was on Bonaventure
Bonaventure
Saint Bonaventure, O.F.M., , born John of Fidanza , was an Italian medieval scholastic theologian and philosopher. The seventh Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor, he was also a Cardinal Bishop of Albano. He was canonized on 14 April 1482 by Pope Sixtus IV and declared a Doctor of the...

. It was completed in 1957 and he became a professor of Freising
Freising
Freising is a town in Bavaria, Germany, and capital of the district Freising. Total population 48,500.The city is located north of Munich at the Isar river, near the Munich International Airport...

 College in 1958.

Academic career: 1951–77


Ratzinger became a professor at the University of Bonn
University of Bonn
The University of Bonn is a public research university located in Bonn, Germany. Founded in its present form in 1818, as the linear successor of earlier academic institutions, the University of Bonn is today one of the leading universities in Germany. The University of Bonn offers a large number...

 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
University of Münster
The University of Münster is a public university located in the city of Münster, North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany. The WWU is part of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, a society of Germany's leading research universities...

.

During this period, Ratzinger participated in the Second Vatican Council
Second Vatican Council
The Second Vatican Council addressed relations between the Roman Catholic Church and the modern world. It was the twenty-first Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church and the second to be held at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. It opened under Pope John XXIII on 11 October 1962 and closed...

 (1962–65). Ratzinger served as a peritus
Peritus
Peritus is the title given to Roman Catholic theologians who are present to give advice at an ecumenical council. At the most recent council, the Second Vatican Council, some periti accompanied individual bishops or groups of bishops from various countries...

(theological consultant) to Cardinal Frings of Cologne. He was viewed during the time of the Council as a reformer, cooperating with theologians like Hans Küng
Hans Küng
Hans Küng is a Swiss Catholic priest, theologian, and prolific author. Since 1995 he has been President of the Foundation for a Global Ethic . Küng is "a Catholic priest in good standing", but the Vatican has rescinded his authority to teach Catholic theology...

 and Edward Schillebeeckx
Edward Schillebeeckx
Edward Cornelis Florentius Alfonsus Schillebeeckx was a Belgian Roman Catholic theologian born in Antwerp. He taught at the Catholic University in Nijmegen. He then continued writing. In his nineties, he still wanted to finish a major book about the Sacraments.He was a member of the Dominican Order...

. Ratzinger became an admirer of Karl Rahner
Karl Rahner
Karl Rahner, SJ was a German Jesuit and theologian who, alongside Bernard Lonergan and Hans Urs von Balthasar, is considered one of the most influential Roman Catholic theologians of the 20th century...

, a well-known academic theologian of the Nouvelle Théologie
Nouvelle Théologie
Nouvelle Théologie is the name commonly used to refer to a school of thought in Catholic theology that arose in the mid-20th century, most notably among certain circles of French and German theologians...

 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
Hans Küng
Hans Küng is a Swiss Catholic priest, theologian, and prolific author. Since 1995 he has been President of the Foundation for a Global Ethic . Küng is "a Catholic priest in good standing", but the Vatican has rescinded his authority to teach Catholic theology...

. 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
Marxism
Marxism is an economic and sociopolitical worldview and method of socioeconomic inquiry that centers upon a materialist interpretation of history, a dialectical view of social change, and an analysis and critique of the development of capitalism. Marxism was pioneered in the early to mid 19th...

 leanings of the student movement of the 1960s that quickly radicalised, in the years 1967 and 1968, culminating in a series of disturbances and riots in April and May 1968. Ratzinger came increasingly to see these and associated developments (such as decreasing respect for authority among his students) as connected to a departure from traditional Catholic teachings. Despite his reformist bent, his views increasingly came to contrast with the liberal ideas gaining currency in theological circles.

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]". Ratzinger has continued to defend the work of the Second Vatican Council, including Nostra Aetate
Nostra Aetate
Nostra Aetate is the Declaration on the Relation of the Church with Non-Christian Religions of the Second Vatican Council. Passed by a vote of 2,221 to 88 of the assembled bishops, this declaration was promulgated on October 28, 1965, by Pope Paul VI.The first draft, entitled "Decretum de...

,
the document on respect of other religions, ecumenism
Ecumenism
Ecumenism or oecumenism mainly refers to initiatives aimed at greater Christian unity or cooperation. It is used predominantly by and with reference to Christian denominations and Christian Churches separated by doctrine, history, and practice...

 and the declaration of the right to freedom of religion
Freedom of religion
Freedom of religion is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or community, in public or private, to manifest religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance; the concept is generally recognized also to include the freedom to change religion or not to follow any...

. 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
Dominus Iesus
Dominus Iesus is a declaration by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. It was approved in a Plenary meeting of the Congregation, and bears the signature of its then Prefect, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, and of its then Secretary, Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone, now...

which also talks about the Roman Catholic way to engage in ecumenical
Catholic Church and ecumenism
The Catholic Church has been heavily involved in the ecumenical movement since the Second Vatican Council .- Before the Second Vatican Council :...

 dialogue
.

During his years at Tübingen University, Ratzinger publicised 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
Edward Schillebeeckx
Edward Cornelis Florentius Alfonsus Schillebeeckx was a Belgian Roman Catholic theologian born in Antwerp. He taught at the Catholic University in Nijmegen. He then continued writing. In his nineties, he still wanted to finish a major book about the Sacraments.He was a member of the Dominican Order...

.

In 1969, he returned to Bavaria, to the University of Regensburg
University of Regensburg
The University of Regensburg is a public research university located in the medieval city of Regensburg, Bavaria, a city that is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The university was founded on July 18, 1962 by the Landtag of Bavaria as the fourth full-fledged university in Bavaria...

. He founded the theological journal Communio
Communio
Communio is a federation of theological journals, founded in 1972 by Joseph Ratzinger, Hans Urs von Balthasar, Henri de Lubac, Walter Kasper, Marc Ouellet, Louis Bouyer and others. Communio, now published in fifteen editions , has become one of the most important journals of Catholic thought...

, with Hans Urs von Balthasar
Hans Urs von Balthasar
Hans Urs von Balthasar was a Swiss theologian and priest who was nominated to be a cardinal of the Catholic Church...

, Henri de Lubac
Henri de Lubac
Henri-Marie de Lubac, SJ was a French Jesuit priest who became a Cardinal of the Catholic Church, and is considered to be one of the most influential theologians of the 20th century...

, 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
Augsburg Confession
The Augsburg Confession, also known as the "Augustana" from its Latin name, Confessio Augustana, is the primary confession of faith of the Lutheran Church and one of the most important documents of the Lutheran reformation...

 might possibly be recognised as a Catholic statement of faith.

Archbishop of Munich and Freising: 1977–82



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
Third Epistle of John
The Third Epistle of John, often referred to as Third John and written 3 John, is a book of the New Testament attributed to John the Evangelist, traditionally thought to be the author of the Gospel of John and the other two epistles of John...

 8, a choice he comments upon in his autobiographical work, Milestones.
In the consistory
Consistory
-Antiquity:Originally, the Latin word consistorium meant simply 'sitting together', just as the Greek synedrion ....

 of the following 27 June, he was named Cardinal-Priest
Cardinal (Catholicism)
A cardinal is a senior ecclesiastical official, usually an ordained bishop, and ecclesiastical prince of the Catholic Church. They are collectively known as the College of Cardinals, which as a body elects a new pope. The duties of the cardinals include attending the meetings of the College and...

 of Santa Maria Consolatrice al Tiburtino
Santa Maria Consolatrice al Tiburtino
St Mary the Consoler at Tiburtino is a Roman Catholic titular parish church in Rome, located at Casal Bertone square.- List of Cardinal Priests :*Jérôme Rakotomalala, O.M.I. *Pope Benedict XVI...

by Pope Paul VI
Pope Paul VI
Paul VI , born Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini , reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church from 21 June 1963 until his death on 6 August 1978. Succeeding Pope John XXIII, who had convened the Second Vatican Council, he decided to continue it...

. 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.

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


On 25 November 1981, Pope John Paul II named Ratzinger Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, formerly known as the "Sacred Congregaton of the Holy Office," the historical Inquisition
Inquisition
The Inquisition, Inquisitio Haereticae Pravitatis , was the "fight against heretics" by several institutions within the justice-system of the Roman Catholic Church. It started in the 12th century, with the introduction of torture in the persecution of heresy...

. Consequently, he resigned his post at Munich in early 1982. He was promoted within the College of Cardinals
College of Cardinals
The College of Cardinals is the body of all cardinals of the Catholic Church.A function of the college is to advise the pope about church matters when he summons them to an ordinary consistory. It also convenes on the death or abdication of a pope as a papal conclave to elect a successor...

 to become Cardinal Bishop of Velletri-Segni in 1993, was made the College's vice-dean in 1998 and dean in 2002.

Ratzinger defended and reaffirmed Catholic doctrine, including teaching on topics such as birth control
Birth control
Birth control is an umbrella term for several techniques and methods used to prevent fertilization or to interrupt pregnancy at various stages. Birth control techniques and methods include contraception , contragestion and abortion...

, homosexuality, and inter-religious dialogue. Theologian Leonardo Boff
Leonardo Boff
Leonardo Boff was born 14 December 1938 in Concórdia, Santa Catarina state, Brazil. He is a theologian, philosopher and writer, known for his active support for the rights of the poor and excluded....

, 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"). In particular, Dominus Iesus
Dominus Iesus
Dominus Iesus is a declaration by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. It was approved in a Plenary meeting of the Congregation, and bears the signature of its then Prefect, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, and of its then Secretary, Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone, now...

, published by the congregation in the jubilee year 2000, reaffirmed many recently "unpopular" ideas. Including the Catholic Church's position that "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." The document angered many Protestant churches by claiming that they are not actually churches, but "ecclesial communities."

Ratzinger's 2001 letter De delictis gravioribus
De delictis gravioribus
De delictis gravioribus was a letter written on 18 May 2001 by then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, to all the Bishops of the Catholic Church and the other Ordinaries concerned, including those of the Eastern Catholic Churches...

clarified the confidentiality of internal Church investigations, as defined in the 1962 document Crimen Sollicitationis
Crimen sollicitationis
Crimen sollicitationis is the title of a 1962 document of the Holy Office codifying procedures to be followed in cases of priests or bishops of the Catholic Church accused of having used the sacrament of Penance to make sexual advances to penitents.It repeated, with additions, the contents of an...

,
into accusations made against priests of certain crimes, including sexual abuse
Sexual abuse
Sexual abuse, also referred to as molestation, is the forcing of undesired sexual behavior by one person upon another. When that force is immediate, of short duration, or infrequent, it is called sexual assault. The offender is referred to as a sexual abuser or molester...

. This became a target of controversy during the sex abuse scandal
Roman Catholic sex abuse cases
The Catholic sex abuse cases are a series of convictions, trials and ongoing investigations into allegations of sex crimes committed by Catholic priests and members of religious orders. These cases began receiving public attention beginning in the mid-1980s...

. 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. Later, as Pope, he was accused in a lawsuit of conspiring to cover up the molestation of three boys in Texas, but sought and obtained diplomatic immunity
Diplomatic immunity
Diplomatic immunity is a form of legal immunity and a policy held between governments that ensures that diplomats are given safe passage and are considered not susceptible to lawsuit or prosecution under the host country's laws...

 from prosecution.

On 12 March 1983, Ratzinger as prefect notified the lay faithful and the clergy that archbishop
Archbishop
An archbishop is a bishop of higher rank, but not of higher sacramental order above that of the three orders of deacon, priest , and bishop...

 Pierre Martin Ngo Dinh Thuc had incurred the excommunication
Excommunication
Excommunication is a religious censure used to deprive, suspend or limit membership in a religious community. The word means putting [someone] out of communion. In some religions, excommunication includes spiritual condemnation of the member or group...

 latae sententiae
Latae sententiae
Latæ sententiæ is a Latin term used in the canon law of the Catholic Church meaning literally "given sentence".Officially, a latae sententiae penalty follows automatically, by force of the law itself, when the law is contravened....

 for illicit
Valid but illicit
Valid but illicit, also known as valid but illegal, as it pertains to Roman Catholicism, refers to the unauthorized but valid celebration of the sacraments, especially regarding the ordinations of clergy. In the Roman Catholic Church several kinds of people have authority to celebrate the sacraments...

 episcopal consecrations
Ordination
In general religious use, ordination is the process by which individuals are consecrated, that is, set apart as clergy to perform various religious rites and ceremonies. The process and ceremonies of ordination itself varies by religion and denomination. One who is in preparation for, or who is...

 without the apostolic mandate.

In 1997, when he turned 70, Ratzinger asked Pope John Paul II for permission to leave the Congregation of Doctrine of Faith and to become an archivist in the Vatican Secret Archives
Vatican Secret Archives
The Vatican Secret Archives , located in Vatican City, is the central repository for all of the acts promulgated by the Holy See. The Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, having primal incumbency until death, owns the archives until the next appointed Papal successor...

 and a librarian in the Vatican Library
Vatican Library
The Vatican Library is the library of the Holy See, currently located in Vatican City. It is one of the oldest libraries in the world and contains one of the most significant collections of historical texts. Formally established in 1475, though in fact much older, it has 75,000 codices from...

, but the pope refused such permission.

Papacy



Prediction


On 2 January 2005, Time
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

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
Financial Times
The Financial Times is an international business newspaper. It is a morning daily newspaper published in London and printed in 24 cities around the world. Its primary rival is the Wall Street Journal, published in New York City....

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. 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
Regensburg
Regensburg is a city in Bavaria, Germany, located at the confluence of the Danube and Regen rivers, at the northernmost bend in the Danube. To the east lies the Bavarian Forest. Regensburg is the capital of the Bavarian administrative region Upper Palatinate...

 and dedicate himself to writing books.

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
Papal conclave, 2005
The Papal conclave of 2005 was convened as a result of the death of Pope John Paul II on 2 April 2005. After his death, the cardinals who were in Rome met and set a date for the beginning of the conclave to elect John Paul's successor. The conclave began on 18 April 2005 and ended on the following...

 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." Coincidentally, 19 April is the feast of St. Leo IX
Pope Leo IX
Pope Saint Leo IX , born Bruno of Eguisheim-Dagsburg, was Pope from February 12, 1049 to his death. He was a German aristocrat and as well as being Pope was a powerful secular ruler of central Italy. He is regarded as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church, with the feast day of April 19...

, the most important German pope of the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

, 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
Jorge Medina Estévez
Jorge Arturo Agustín Medina Estévez is a Chilean Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He was Cardinal Protodeacon until February 23, 2007, and is Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.-Early life and ordination:Medina was born in Santiago in...

, Cardinal Protodeacon of the Holy Roman Church. 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
Habemus Papam
Habemus Papam! is the announcement given in Latin by the senior Cardinal Deacon upon the election of a new pope.The announcement is given from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican...

announcement in Latin.

At the balcony, Benedict's first words to the crowd, given in Italian before he gave the traditional Urbi et Orbi
Urbi et Orbi
Urbi et Orbi denotes a papal address and Apostolic Blessing that is given to the City of Rome and to the entire world, on certain occasions. It was a standard opening of Ancient Roman proclamations....

blessing in Latin, were:
On 24 April, he celebrated the Papal Inauguration Mass
Papal Inauguration
The Papal Inauguration is a liturgical service of the Catholic Church within Mass celebrated in the Roman Rite but with elements of Byzantine Rite for the ecclesiastical investiture of the Pope...

 in St. Peter's Square, during which he was invested with the Pallium
Pallium
The pallium is an ecclesiastical vestment in the Roman Catholic Church, originally peculiar to the Pope, but for many centuries bestowed by him on metropolitans and primates as a symbol of the jurisdiction delegated to them by the Holy See. In that context it has always remained unambiguously...

 and the Ring of the Fisherman
Ring of the Fisherman
The Ring of the Fisherman, also known as the Piscatory Ring, Annulus Piscatoris and the Anello Piscatorio , is an official part of the regalia worn by the Pope, who is head of the Catholic Church and successor of Saint Peter, who was a fisherman by trade...

. Then, on 7 May, he took possession of his Cathedral church, the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran
Basilica of St. John Lateran
The Papal Archbasilica of St. John Lateran , commonly known as St. John Lateran's Archbasilica and St. John Lateran's Basilica, is the cathedral of the Diocese of Rome and the official ecclesiastical seat of the Bishop of Rome, who is the Pope...

.

Choice of name


Ratzinger chose the pontifical name
Papal name
A papal name is a regnal name taken by popes. Beginning in the sixth century, some popes adopted a new name upon their accession to the papacy; this became customary in the 10th century, and every pope since the 16th century has done so.-History:...

 Benedict
Benedict
Benedict is a masculine given name. It comes from the Latin benedictus, meaning "blessed".Benedict most commonly refers to Saint Benedict of Nursia, the founder of the Order of Saint Benedict and thereby of Western Monasticism...

, which comes from the Latin word meaning "the blessed", in honour of both Pope Benedict XV
Pope Benedict XV
Pope Benedict XV , born Giacomo Paolo Giovanni Battista della Chiesa, reigned as Pope from 3 September 1914 to 22 January 1922...

 and Saint Benedict of Nursia
Benedict of Nursia
Saint Benedict of Nursia is a Christian saint, honored by the Roman Catholic Church as the patron saint of Europe and students.Benedict founded twelve communities for monks at Subiaco, about to the east of Rome, before moving to Monte Cassino in the mountains of southern Italy. There is no...

. 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
Order of Saint Benedict
The Order of Saint Benedict is a Roman Catholic religious order of independent monastic communities that observe the Rule of St. Benedict. Within the order, each individual community maintains its own autonomy, while the organization as a whole exists to represent their mutual interests...

 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.

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

Tone of papacy



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
Popemobile
Popemobile is an informal name for the specially designed motor vehicles used by the pope during outdoor public appearances without having to employ the antiquated and often impractical sedia gestatoria. The Popemobile was designed to allow the pope to be more visible when greeting large crowds...

, saying that he wanted to be closer to the people. Pope Benedict has continued the tradition of his predecessor John Paul II and baptises 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
Beatification
Beatification is a recognition accorded by the Catholic Church of a dead person's entrance into Heaven and capacity to intercede on behalf of individuals who pray in his or her name . Beatification is the third of the four steps in the canonization process...

 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
Vicar general
A vicar general is the principal deputy of the bishop of a diocese for the exercise of administrative authority. As vicar of the bishop, the vicar general exercises the bishop's ordinary executive power over the entire diocese and, thus, is the highest official in a diocese or other particular...

 of the Diocese of Rome and the official responsible for promoting the cause for canonization
Canonization
Canonization is the act by which a Christian church declares a deceased person to be a saint, upon which declaration the person is included in the canon, or list, of recognized saints. Originally, individuals were recognized as saints without any formal process...

 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
Pope Paul VI
Paul VI , born Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini , reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church from 21 June 1963 until his death on 6 August 1978. Succeeding Pope John XXIII, who had convened the Second Vatican Council, he decided to continue it...

 waived the five year rule and announced beatification processes for his predecessors, Pope Pius XII
Pope Pius XII
The Venerable Pope Pius XII , born Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli , reigned as Pope, head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of Vatican City State, from 2 March 1939 until his death in 1958....

 and Pope John XXIII
Pope John XXIII
-Papal election:Following the death of Pope Pius XII in 1958, Roncalli was elected Pope, to his great surprise. He had even arrived in the Vatican with a return train ticket to Venice. Many had considered Giovanni Battista Montini, Archbishop of Milan, a possible candidate, but, although archbishop...

. Benedict XVI followed this precedent when he waived the five year rule for John Paul II. The decision was announced on 13 May 2005, the Feast of Our Lady of Fátima
Our Lady of Fatima
Our Lady of Fátima is a famous title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary as she appeared in apparitions reported by three shepherd children at Fátima in Portugal. These occurred on the 13th day of six consecutive months in 1917, starting on May 13...

 and the 24th anniversary of the attempt on John Paul II's life. John Paul II often credited Our Lady of Fátima 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.

The first beatification under the new Pope was celebrated on 14 May 2005, by José Cardinal Saraiva Martins
José Cardinal Saraiva Martins
José Saraiva Martins, CMF, GCC is a Portuguese Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He is the Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, having served as prefect from 1998 to 2008....

, Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints
Congregation for the Causes of Saints
The Congregation for the Causes of Saints is the congregation of the Roman Curia which oversees the complex process that leads to the canonization of saints, passing through the steps of a declaration of "heroic virtues" and beatification...

. The new Blesseds were Mother Marianne Cope
Mother Marianne Cope
The Blessed Marianne Cope, O.S.F., christened Maria Anna Barbara Koob , was a member of the Sisters of St. Francis of Syracuse, a religious congregation of the Roman Catholic Church...

 and Mother Ascensión Nicol Goñi
Mother Ascensión Nicol Goñi
Blessed María Ascensión Nicol y Goñi, O.P., was a Spanish Roman Catholic Religious Sister of the Third Order of St. Dominic, having previously been a cloistered nun of the Dominican Second Order...

. Cardinal
Cardinal (Catholicism)
A cardinal is a senior ecclesiastical official, usually an ordained bishop, and ecclesiastical prince of the Catholic Church. They are collectively known as the College of Cardinals, which as a body elects a new pope. The duties of the cardinals include attending the meetings of the College and...

 Clemens August Graf von Galen
Clemens August Graf von Galen
Blessed Clemens August Graf von Galen was a German count, Bishop of Münster, and Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church....

 was beatified on 9 October 2005. Mariano de la Mata
Mariano de la Mata
Mariano de la Mata Aparicio was an Augustinian priest and missionary to Brazil. He was declared Venerable by Pope John Paul II and Beatified by Pope Benedict XVI.-Notes:...

 was beatified in November 2006 and Rosa Eluvathingal was beatified 3 December of that year, and Fr. Basil Moreau
Basil Moreau
The Blessed Father Basil Anthony Marie Patrice Moreau, CSC was the French priest who founded the Congregation of Holy Cross from which three additional congregations were founded, namely the Marianites of Holy Cross, the Sisters of the Holy Cross, and the Sisters of Holy Cross...

 was beatified September 2007. In October 2008 the following beatifications took place: Celestine of the Mother of God, Giuseppina Nicoli, Hendrina Stenmanns, Maria Rosa Flesch, Marta Anna Wiecka, Michael Sopocko
Michael Sopocko
Blessed Father Michal Sopocko was a Roman Catholic priest, and professor of pastoral theology at Stefan Batory University in Vilnius, Lithuania...

, Petrus Kibe Kasui and 187 Companions, Susana Paz-Castillo Ramirez
Blessed Candlemas of San José
Mother Candlemas of San José is the founder of the congregation known today as the Hermanas Carmelitas de Madre Candelaria...

, Maria Isbael Salvat Romero, and John Henry Newman.

Unlike his predecessor, Benedict XVI delegated the beatification liturgical service to a Cardinal. On 29 September 2005, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints
Congregation for the Causes of Saints
The Congregation for the Causes of Saints is the congregation of the Roman Curia which oversees the complex process that leads to the canonization of saints, passing through the steps of a declaration of "heroic virtues" and beatification...

 issued a communiqué announcing that henceforth beatifications would be celebrated by a representative of the Pope, usually the Prefect of that Congregation.

Canonizations



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
Zygmunt Gorazdowski
Zygmunt Gorazdowski is a Roman Catholic saint.Father Gorazdowski was a priest of the Lviv archdiocese, Monsignor and Camerlingo, and the Founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph, CSSJ.-References:* at Patron Saints Index...

, Gaetano Catanoso
Gaetano Catanoso
Saint Gaetano Catanoso was an Italian parish priest canonized by Pope Benedict XVI in 2005.Born to a prosperous and generous family in Chorio, a small village outside of Reggio Calabria in the Aspromonte. Gaetano was one of eight children. He was ordained on September 20, 1902 and served as a...

, and Felice da Nicosia
Felice da Nicosia
Saint Felice da Nicosia, or Felix of Nicosia , was a Capuchin friar, and is a saint in the Roman Catholic Church....

. The canonizations were part of a Mass that marked the conclusion of the Synod of Bishops and the Year of the Eucharist
Year of the Eucharist
The Year of the Eucharist is the name of the liturgical year from October 2004 to October 2005, as celebrated by Catholics worldwide. On June 10, 2004, Pope John Paul II announced the dedication of an entire year to the Blessed Sacrament and invited the entire Church to reflect upon the...

. Pope Benedict XVI canonized Bishop Rafael Guizar y Valencia, Mother Theodore Guerin
Theodore Guerin
Saint Mother Théodore Guérin , designated by the Vatican as Saint Theodora, is the foundress of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, a congregation of Catholic nuns...

, Filippo Smaldone
Filippo Smaldone
Saint Filippo Smaldone is a saint in the Roman Catholic Church. He founded the Salesian Sisters of the Sacred Hearts and is known for his work with the deaf....

, 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
George Preca
George Preca was a Maltese Roman Catholic priest who founded the Society of Christian Doctrine, a society of lay catechists. In Malta, he is affectionately known as "Dun Ġorġ" and is popularly referred to as the "Second Apostle of Malta", after Saint Paul of Tarsus...

, founder of the Malta
Malta
Malta , officially known as the Republic of Malta , is a Southern European country consisting of an archipelago situated in the centre of the Mediterranean, south of Sicily, east of Tunisia and north of Libya, with Gibraltar to the west and Alexandria to the east.Malta covers just over in...

 based M.U.S.E.U.M., Szymon of Lipnica
Szymon of Lipnica
St.Simon of Lipnica was born to a pious family in Lipnica Murowana, in the south of Poland. He moved to Krakow, to attend the famous Jagiellonian Academy, in 1454. After hearing a sermon by Saint John Capistran, he joined the Franciscans. He was known as a powerful preacher. He died tending the...

, Charles of Mount Argus
Charles of Mount Argus
Saint Charles of Mount Argus was a well known Passionist priest in 19th century Ireland. He was born Joannes Andreas Houben on the 11 December 1821 in the village of Munstergeleen in the Province of Limburg in the United Kingdom of the Netherlands. He joined the Passionists in 1845 at Ere in Belgium...

, and Marie-Eugénie de Jésus
Marie-Eugénie de Jésus
Saint Marie-Eugénie de Jésus. R.A., born Anne-Eugénie Milleret de Brou, was a Catholic Religious Sister who founded the religious congregation of the Religious of the Assumption in 1839....

 were canonized in a ceremony held at the Vatican
Apostolic Palace
The Apostolic Palace is the official residence of the Pope, which is located in Vatican City. It is also known as the Sacred Palace, the Papal Palace and the Palace of the Vatican...

 on 3 June 2007. Preca is the first Maltese saint since the country's conversion to Christianity in 60 A.D. when St. Paul converted the inhabitants. In October 2008 the following canonizations took place: Saint Alphonsa of India, Gaetano Errico
Gaetano Errico
St. Gaetano Errico was born on October 19, 1791 in Secondigliano, a small village of Naples, Italy. He was the second of nine children born to Pasquale and Marie Errico. His father managed a small pasta factory and his mother worked at the loom weaving plush...

, Narcisa de Jesus Martillo Moran, Maria Bernarda Bütler
María Bernarda Bütler
St. Maria Bernarda Bütler , born Verena Bütler, was a Swiss saint. She founded the Congregation of the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Mary, Help of Christians and was a missionary in Ecuador...

. In April 2009 he canonized Arcangelo Tadini
Arcangelo Tadini
Saint Arcangelo Tadini was a Catholic priest who was beatified on 24 October 2001 and canonized on 19 April 2009. Founded the Congregation of Worker Sisters of the Holy House of Nazareth.-Links and references:* * *...

, Bernardo Tolomei
Bernardo Tolomei
Saint Bernardo Tolomei was an Italian theologian, the founder of the Roman Catholic Congregation of the Blessed Virgin of Monte Oliveto. In the Roman Martyrology he is commemorated on August 20, but in the Benedictine calendar his optional memorial is celebrated on the previous day...

, Nuno Álvares Pereira
Nuno Álvares Pereira
Dom Nuno Álvares Pereira, O. Carm. , also spelled Nun'Álvares Pereira, was a Portuguese general of great success who had a decisive role in the 1383-1385 Crisis that assured Portugal's independence from Castile...

, Geltrude Comensoli
Geltrude Comensoli
-External links:*...

, Caterina Volpicelli
Caterina Volpicelli
Caterina Volpicelli was an Italian nun, foundress of the Congregation “Ancelle del Sacro Cuore di Gesù” . She was proclaimed Blessed by Joan Paul II in 2001 and Saint on April 26, 2009 by Pope Benedict XVI....

. In October of the same year he canonized Jeanne Jugan
Jeanne Jugan
Saint Jeanne Jugan , also known as Sister Mary of the Cross was born in Cancale in Brittany, France, the sixth of the eight children of Joseph and Marie Jugan. Her father died when she was very young and her mother raised this large family alone. When Jeanne was 16, she took a job as the kitchen...

, Jozef Damian de Veuster
Father Damien
Father Damien or Saint Damien of Molokai, SS.CC. , born Jozef De Veuster, was a Roman Catholic priest from Belgium and member of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, a missionary religious order...

, Zygmunt Szczęsny Feliński
Zygmunt Szczęsny Feliński
Saint Zygmunt Szczęsny Feliński, SFO was Archbishop of Warsaw and founder of the Franciscan Sisters of the Family of Mary. He was canonized on 11 October 2009 by Pope Benedict XVI.-Early life:...

, Francisco Coll Guitart
Francisco Coll Guitart
Saint Francisco Coll Guitart was a priest of the Order of Preachers and founded the Dominican Sisters of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin....

 and Rafael Arnáiz Barón
Rafael Arnáiz Barón
Saint Rafael Arnáiz, is a saint of the Roman Catholic Church.. He was a trappist monk and he is considered one of the greatest mystics of the XX century....

.

On 17 October 2010, Pope Benedict XVI formally declared sainthood for Saint André Bessette, a French-Canadian; Stanislaw Soltys, a 15th-century Polish priest; Italian nuns Giulia Salzano
Giulia Salzano
Saint Giulia Salzano was the founder of the Congregation of the Catechetical Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in 1905. She was raised and educated by the Sisters of Charity in the Royal Orphanage of Saint Nicola La Strada until the age of fifteen...

 and Camilla Battista da Varano
Camilla Battista da Varano
Saint Camilla Battista da Varano , from Camerino, Macerata, Italy, was an Italian princess and a Poor Clares Roman Catholic nun. She was beatified by Pope Gregory XVI in 1843 and canonized by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010....

; Spanish nun Candida Maria de Jesus Cipitria y Barriola and an Australian nun, Mother Mary MacKillop
Mary MacKillop
Mary Helen MacKillop , also known as Saint Mary of the Cross, was an Australian Roman Catholic nun who, together with Father Julian Tenison Woods, founded the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart and a number of schools and welfare institutions throughout Australasia with an emphasis on...

.

Curia reform



Pope Benedict began downsizing the Roman Curia
Roman Curia
The Roman Curia is the administrative apparatus of the Holy See and the central governing body of the entire Catholic Church, together with the Pope...

 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
Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace
The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace is a part of the Roman Curia dedicated to "action-oriented studies" for the international promotion of justice, peace, and human rights from the perspective of the Roman Catholic Church...

 headed by Cardinal Martino. Likewise, Cardinal Poupard, who headed the Pontifical Council for Culture
Pontifical Council for Culture
The Pontifical Council for Culture is a department of the Roman Curia charged with fostering the relationship of the Catholic Church with different cultures. Pope John Paul II founded it on 20 May 1982...

, now also oversees the operations of what had been the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue
Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue
The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue is a dicastery of the Roman Curia, erected by Pope Paul VI on 19 May 1964 as the Secretariat for Non-Christians, and renamed by Pope John Paul II on 28 June 1988....

, 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. In June 2010 Benedict created the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelisation
Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelisation
The Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization is a dicastery of the Roman Curia whose creation was announced by Pope Benedict XVI at vespers on 28 June 2010, eve of the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul...

. He appointed Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella
Rino Fisichella
Salvatore Rino Fisichella is an Italian titular archbishop of the Roman Catholic Church. He is the current and first President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelisation...

 as its first president.

Teachings



As Pope, one of Benedict XVI's main roles 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"


At the conclusion of his first homily as Pope, Benedict referred to both Jesus Christ
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 and John Paul II. Citing John Paul II's well-known words, "Do not be afraid! Open wide the doors for Christ!", Benedict XVI said:

"Friendship with Jesus Christ" is a frequent theme of his preaching. He stressed that on this intimate friendship, "everything depends." 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." 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.

He took up this theme in his first encyclical Deus Caritas Est
Deus Caritas Est
Deus Caritas Est is a 2006 encyclical—the first written by Pope Benedict XVI, in large part derived from writings by his late predecessor, Pope John Paul II. Its subject is love, as seen through a Christian perspective, and God's place within all love...

. 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." 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", on 6 June 2005 Pope Benedict also said:
He said that "a dictatorship of relativism" was the core challenge facing the church and humanity. At the root of this problem, he said, is Kant
KANT
KANT is a computer algebra system for mathematicians interested in algebraic number theory, performing sophisticated computations in algebraic number fields, in global function fields, and in local fields. KASH is the associated command line interface...

'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. Benedict traced the failed revolutions and violent ideologies of the 20th century to a conversion of partial points of view into absolute guides. He said "Absolutizing what is not absolute but relative is called totalitarianism."

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
Abortion
Abortion is defined as the termination of pregnancy by the removal or expulsion from the uterus of a fetus or embryo prior to viability. An abortion can occur spontaneously, in which case it is usually called a miscarriage, or it can be purposely induced...

:
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.

Christianity as religion according to reason


In the discussion with secularism
Secularism
Secularism is the principle of separation between government institutions and the persons mandated to represent the State from religious institutions and religious dignitaries...

 and rationalism
Rationalism
In epistemology and in its modern sense, rationalism is "any view appealing to reason as a source of knowledge or justification" . In more technical terms, it is a method or a theory "in which the criterion of the truth is not sensory but intellectual and deductive"...

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

Encyclicals


Pope Benedict has to date written three encyclical
Encyclical
An encyclical was originally a circular letter sent to all the churches of a particular area in the ancient Catholic Church. At that time, the word could be used for a letter sent out by any bishop...

s: Deus Caritas Est
Deus Caritas Est
Deus Caritas Est is a 2006 encyclical—the first written by Pope Benedict XVI, in large part derived from writings by his late predecessor, Pope John Paul II. Its subject is love, as seen through a Christian perspective, and God's place within all love...

(Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 for "God is Love"), Spe Salvi
Spe Salvi
Spe Salvi is an encyclical letter by Pope Benedict XVI promulgated on November 30, 2007 about the theological virtue of hope. The title comes from St. Paul's letter to the Romans...

("Saved by Hope"), and Caritas in Veritate
Caritas in Veritate
Caritas in Veritate is the third encyclical of Pope Benedict XVI and his first social encyclical. It was signed on June 29, 2009, and was published on July 7, 2009...

("Love in Truth").

In his first encyclical, Deus Caritas Est, 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
Agape
Agape is one of the Greek words translated into English as love, one which became particularly appropriated in Christian theology as the love of God or Christ for mankind. In the New Testament, it refers to the fatherly love of God for humans, as well as the human reciprocal love for God; the term...

), by receiving and experiencing God's love in contemplation. This life of love, according to him, is the life of the saints such as Teresa of Calcutta
Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa , born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu , was a Roman Catholic nun of Albanian ethnicity and Indian citizenship, who founded the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta, India, in 1950...

 and the Blessed Virgin Mary
Blessed Virgin Mary (Roman Catholic)
Roman Catholic veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary is based on Holy Scripture: In the fullness of time, God sent his son, born of a virgin. The mystery of the incarnation of the Son of God through Mary thus signifies her honour as Mother of God...

, and is the direction Christians take when they believe that God loves them in Jesus Christ.

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
First language
A first language is the language a person has learned from birth or within the critical period, or that a person speaks the best and so is often the basis for sociolinguistic identity...

, in the summer of 2005; the second half is derived from uncompleted writings left by his predecessor, Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II
Blessed Pope John Paul II , born Karol Józef Wojtyła , reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church and Sovereign of Vatican City from 16 October 1978 until his death on 2 April 2005, at of age. His was the second-longest documented pontificate, which lasted ; only Pope Pius IX ...

. The document was signed by Pope Benedict on Christmas Day, 25 December 2005. 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
Copyright
Copyright is a legal concept, enacted by most governments, giving the creator of an original work exclusive rights to it, usually for a limited time...

 in the official writings of the Pope
Pope
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

.

Pope Benedict's second encyclical titled Spe Salvi
Spe Salvi
Spe Salvi is an encyclical letter by Pope Benedict XVI promulgated on November 30, 2007 about the theological virtue of hope. The title comes from St. Paul's letter to the Romans...

("Saved by Hope"), about the virtue of hope
Hope
Hope is the emotional state which promotes the belief in a positive outcome related to events and circumstances in one's life. It is the "feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best" or the act of "look[ing] forward to with desire and reasonable confidence" or...

, was released on 30 November 2007.

Benedict's third encyclical titled Caritas in Veritate
Caritas in Veritate
Caritas in Veritate is the third encyclical of Pope Benedict XVI and his first social encyclical. It was signed on June 29, 2009, and was published on July 7, 2009...

("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. 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.

Post-synodal apostolic exhortation


Sacramentum Caritatis
Sacramentum Caritatis
Sacramentum Caritatis is the first post-synodal apostolic exhortation by Pope Benedict XVI. It was signed February 22, 2007.The document expounded on the sacrament of the Eucharist...

(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
Apostolic exhortation
An apostolic exhortation is a type of communication from the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church. It encourages a community of people to undertake a particular activity, but does not define Church doctrine...

 "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.

Motu proprio on Tridentine Mass




On 7 July 2007, Benedict XVI issued the motu proprio
Motu proprio
A motu proprio is a document issued by the Pope on his own initiative and personally signed by him....

 Summorum Pontificum
Summorum Pontificum
Summorum Pontificum is an Apostolic Letter of Pope Benedict XVI, issued "motu proprio" . The document specified the rules, for the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church, for celebrating Mass according to the "Missal promulgated by John XXIII in 1962" , and for administering most of the sacraments in...

, declaring that upon "the request of the faithful", celebration of Mass
Mass (liturgy)
"Mass" is one of the names by which the sacrament of the Eucharist is called in the Roman Catholic Church: others are "Eucharist", the "Lord's Supper", the "Breaking of Bread", the "Eucharistic assembly ", the "memorial of the Lord's Passion and Resurrection", the "Holy Sacrifice", the "Holy and...

 according to the Missal of 1962
Tridentine Mass
The Tridentine Mass is the form of the Roman Rite Mass contained in the typical editions of the Roman Missal that were published from 1570 to 1962. It was the most widely celebrated Mass liturgy in the world until the introduction of the Mass of Paul VI in December 1969...

 (commonly known as the Tridentine Mass
Tridentine Mass
The Tridentine Mass is the form of the Roman Rite Mass contained in the typical editions of the Roman Missal that were published from 1570 to 1962. It was the most widely celebrated Mass liturgy in the world until the introduction of the Mass of Paul VI in December 1969...

), 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. While Summorum Pontificum directs that pastors should provide the Tridentine Mass
Tridentine Mass
The Tridentine Mass is the form of the Roman Rite Mass contained in the typical editions of the Roman Missal that were published from 1570 to 1962. It was the most widely celebrated Mass liturgy in the world until the introduction of the Mass of Paul VI in December 1969...

 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. For regularly scheduled public celebrations of the Tridentine Mass, the permission of the priest in charge of the church is required.

In an accompanying letter, the Pope outlined his position concerning questions about the new guidelines. As there were fears that the move would entail a reversal of the Second Vatican Council
Second Vatican Council
The Second Vatican Council addressed relations between the Roman Catholic Church and the modern world. It was the twenty-first Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church and the second to be held at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. It opened under Pope John XXIII on 11 October 1962 and closed...

, Benedict emphasised that the Tridentine Mass would not detract from the Council, and that the Mass of Paul VI
Mass of Paul VI
The Mass of Pope Paul VI is the liturgy of the Catholic Mass of the Roman Rite promulgated by Paul VI in 1969, after the Second Vatican Council...

 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." 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 authorising or even requiring creativity", mentioning his own experience.

The Pope considered that allowing the Tridentine Mass to those who request it was a means to prevent or heal schism
Schism (religion)
A schism , from Greek σχίσμα, skhísma , is a division between people, usually belonging to an organization or movement religious denomination. The word is most frequently applied to a break of communion between two sections of Christianity that were previously a single body, or to a division within...

, 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." Many feel the decree aimed at ending the schism between the Holy See and traditionalist groups such as the Society of St. Pius X
Society of St. Pius X
The Society of Saint Pius X is an international Traditionalist Catholic organisation, founded in 1970 by the French archbishop Marcel Lefebvre...

 (SSPX). Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos, the president of the Pontifical Commission established for the purpose of facilitating full ecclesial communion of those associated with that Society
Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei
The Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei is a commission of the Catholic Church established by Pope John Paul II's motu proprio Ecclesia Dei of 2 July 1988 for the care of those former followers of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre who broke with him as a result of his consecration of four priests of his...

, stated that the decree "opened the door for their return". Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior general of the SSPX, expressed "deep gratitude to the Sovereign Pontiff for this great spiritual benefit".

Unicity and Salvific Universality of the Church


Near the end of June 2007, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith , previously known as the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition , and after 1904 called the Supreme...

 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." 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."

Consumerism



Benedict XVI has condemned excessive consumerism
Consumerism
Consumerism is a social and economic order that is based on the systematic creation and fostering of a desire to purchase goods and services in ever greater amounts. The term is often associated with criticisms of consumption starting with Thorstein Veblen...

, 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."

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

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
Saint Peter
Saint Peter or Simon Peter was an early Christian leader, who is featured prominently in the New Testament Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles. The son of John or of Jonah and from the village of Bethsaida in the province of Galilee, his brother Andrew was also an apostle...

. "Peter's responsibility thus consists of guaranteeing the communion with Christ," said Pope Benedict. "Let us pray so that the primacy of Peter
Primacy of Simon Peter
Most Christians hold that Simon Peter was the most prominent of the Apostles, called the Prince of the Apostles and favored by Jesus of Nazareth. As such, it is argued that Peter held the first place of honor and authority...

, 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
Anti-Defamation League
The Anti-Defamation League is an international non-governmental organization based in the United States. Describing itself as "the nation's premier civil rights/human relations agency", the ADL states that it "fights anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, defends democratic ideals and protects...

 who noted "his great sensitivity to Jewish history and the Holocaust". However, his election received a more reserved response from the United Kingdom's Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks
Jonathan Sacks
Jonathan Henry Sacks, Baron Sacks, Kt is the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth. His Hebrew name is Yaakov Zvi...

, 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." 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."

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
Tridentine Mass
The Tridentine Mass is the form of the Roman Rite Mass contained in the typical editions of the Roman Missal that were published from 1570 to 1962. It was the most widely celebrated Mass liturgy in the world until the introduction of the Mass of Paul VI in December 1969...

 and the lifting of the excommunication on four bishops from the Society of St. Pius X
Society of St. Pius X
The Society of Saint Pius X is an international Traditionalist Catholic organisation, founded in 1970 by the French archbishop Marcel Lefebvre...

 (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 several groups saw the restoration of the Tridentine Mass as problematic. Among those whose excommunications was lifted was Bishop Richard Williamson, an outspoken Holocaust denier
Holocaust denial
Holocaust denial is the act of denying the genocide of Jews in World War II, usually referred to as the Holocaust. The key claims of Holocaust denial are: the German Nazi government had no official policy or intention of exterminating Jews, Nazi authorities did not use extermination camps and gas...

. The lifting of his excommunication led critics to charge that the Pope was condoning his anti-Semitic views.

Islam



Pope Benedict's relations with Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 have been strained at times. On 12 September 2006 Pope Benedict XVI delivered a lecture which touched on Islam at the University of Regensburg
University of Regensburg
The University of Regensburg is a public research university located in the medieval city of Regensburg, Bavaria, a city that is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The university was founded on July 18, 1962 by the Landtag of Bavaria as the fourth full-fledged university in Bavaria...

 in Germany. The pope had previously served as professor of theology
Theology
Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

 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 mischaracterisation of Islam, although his focus was aimed towards the rationality of religious violence, and its effect on the religion. Muslims were particularly offended by the following quotation from the Pope's speech:

The passage originally appeared in the "Dialogue Held With A Certain Persian, the Worthy Mouterizes, in Anakara of Galatia written in 1391 as an expression of the views of the Byzantine
Byzantine
Byzantine usually refers to the Roman Empire during the Middle Ages.Byzantine may also refer to:* A citizen of the Byzantine Empire, or native Greek during the Middle Ages...

 emperor Manuel II Paleologus, one of the last Christian rulers before the Fall of Constantinople
Fall of Constantinople
The Fall of Constantinople was the capture of the capital of the Byzantine Empire, which occurred after a siege by the Ottoman Empire, under the command of Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, against the defending army commanded by Byzantine Emperor Constantine XI...

 to the Muslim Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

, on such issues as forced conversion
Forced conversion
A forced conversion is the religious conversion or acceptance of a philosophy against the will of the subject, often with the threatened consequence of earthly penalties or harm. These consequences range from job loss and social isolation to incarceration, torture or death...

, holy war
Religious war
A religious war; Latin: bellum sacrum; is a war caused by, or justified by, religious differences. It can involve one state with an established religion against another state with a different religion or a different sect within the same religion, or a religiously motivated group attempting to...

, and the relationship between faith
Faith
Faith is confidence or trust in a person or thing, or a belief that is not based on proof. In religion, faith is a belief in a transcendent reality, a religious teacher, a set of teachings or a Supreme Being. Generally speaking, it is offered as a means by which the truth of the proposition,...

 and reason
Reason
Reason is a term that refers to the capacity human beings have to make sense of things, to establish and verify facts, and to change or justify practices, institutions, and beliefs. It is closely associated with such characteristically human activities as philosophy, science, language, ...

. 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). Pope Benedict apologised for any offence he had caused and made a point of visiting Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

, a predominantly Muslim country, and praying in its Blue Mosque
Sultan Ahmed Mosque
The Sultan Ahmed Mosque is a historical mosque in Istanbul, the largest city in Turkey and the capital of the Ottoman Empire . The mosque is popularly known as the Blue Mosque for the blue tiles adorning the walls of its interior....

.

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. That meeting, the "First Meeting of the Catholic-Muslim Forum
Catholic-Muslim Forum
The Catholic-Muslim Forum is a forum for dialogue between Catholics and Muslims. The first summit took place on 4-6 November 2008 in Vatican with nearly fifty delegates. The chosen theme was "Love of God, Love of Neighbour."-External links:******...

," was held from November 4–6, 2008.

On 9 May 2009 H.H. Pope Benedict XVI visited the King Hussein Mosque, Amman
Amman
Amman is the capital of Jordan. It is the country's political, cultural and commercial centre and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. The Greater Amman area has a population of 2,842,629 as of 2010. The population of Amman is expected to jump from 2.8 million to almost...

, Jordan where he was addressed by H.R.H. Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad bin Talal
Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad
Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad of Jordan is a Jordanian prince, professor of philosophy, and is a direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad. He is the son of Prince Muhammad bin Talal of Jordan and his first wife, Princess Firyal...

.

Tibetan Buddhism


The Dalai Lama congratulated Pope Benedict XVI upon his election, 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.

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." 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
Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus was an explorer, colonizer, and navigator, born in the Republic of Genoa, in northwestern Italy. Under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, he completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that led to general European awareness of the American continents in the...

 cultures, nor was it the imposition of a foreign culture." President of Venezuela Hugo Chavez
Hugo Chávez
Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías is the 56th and current President of Venezuela, having held that position since 1999. He was formerly the leader of the Fifth Republic Movement political party from its foundation in 1997 until 2007, when he became the leader of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela...

 demanded an apology, and an indigenous organisation in Ecuador issued a response which stated that "representatives of the Catholic Church of those times, with honourable exceptions, were accomplices, deceivers and beneficiaries of one of the most horrific genocides of all humanity." 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."

International Society for Krishna Consciousness


While visiting the United States on 17 April 2008, Benedict met with International Society for Krishna Consciousness
International Society for Krishna Consciousness
The International Society for Krishna Consciousness , known colloquially as the Hare Krishna movement, is a Gaudiya Vaishnava religious organization. It was founded in 1966 in New York City by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada...

 representative Radhika Ramana Dasa
Radhika Ramana Dasa
Radhika Ramana Dasa, also known as Dr. Ravi M. Gupta, is a notable Vaishnava scholar. Presently, he is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia and a member of the faculty at Bhaktivedanta College...

; a notable Hindu scholar and disciple of Hanumatpreshaka Swami
Hanumatpreshaka Swami
- External links :* * * * * * ISKCON Vancouver* ISKCON Houston*...

. On behalf of the Hindu American community, Radhika Ramana Dasa presented a gift of an Om
Aum
Om or Aum Om or Aum Om or Aum (also , written in Devanāgari as and as , in Sanskrit known as (lit. "to sound out loudly"), ', or ' (also as ') (lit. "Auṃ form/syllable"), is a sacred/mystical syllable in the Dharmic or Indian religions, i.e...

 symbol to Benedict.

Apostolic ministry




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

Benedict travelled 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
World Youth Day
World Youth Day is a youth-oriented Catholic Church event. While the event itself celebrates the Catholic faith, the invitation to attend extends to all youth, regardless of religious convictions....

 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
Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy
The Regensburg lecture was delivered on 12 September 2006 by Pope Benedict XVI at the University of Regensburg in Germany, where he had once served as a professor of theology. It was entitled "Glaube, Vernunft und Universität — Erinnerungen und Reflexionen"...

. His visit was met by nationalist and Islamic protesters and was placed under unprecedented security measures. 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 canonize Friar Antônio Galvão, an 18th century Franciscan
Franciscan
Most Franciscans are members of Roman Catholic religious orders founded by Saint Francis of Assisi. Besides Roman Catholic communities, there are also Old Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, ecumenical and Non-denominational Franciscan communities....

. In June 2007, Benedict made a personal pilgrimage and pastoral visit to Assisi
Assisi
- Churches :* The Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi is a World Heritage Site. The Franciscan monastery, il Sacro Convento, and the lower and upper church of St Francis were begun immediately after his canonization in 1228, and completed in 1253...

, the birthplace of St. Francis. In September, Benedict undertook a three day visit to Austria, during which he joined Vienna's Chief Rabbi
Chief Rabbi
Chief Rabbi is a title given in several countries to the recognized religious leader of that country's Jewish community, or to a rabbinic leader appointed by the local secular authorities...

, Paul Chaim Eisenberg, in a memorial to the 65,000 Viennese Jews who perished in Nazi death camps. During his stay in Austria, he also celebrated Mass
Mass (liturgy)
"Mass" is one of the names by which the sacrament of the Eucharist is called in the Roman Catholic Church: others are "Eucharist", the "Lord's Supper", the "Breaking of Bread", the "Eucharistic assembly ", the "memorial of the Lord's Passion and Resurrection", the "Holy Sacrifice", the "Holy and...

 at the Marian shrine Mariazell
Mariazell
Mariazell is a small city in Austria, in Styria, well known for winter sports, 143 km N. of Graz. It is picturesquely situated in the valley of the Salza, amid the north Styrian Alps....

 and visited Heiligenkreuz Abbey
Heiligenkreuz Abbey
Heiligenkreuz Abbey is a Cistercian monastery in the village of Heiligenkreuz in the southern part of the Vienna woods, c. 13 km north-west of Baden in Lower Austria...

.

In April 2008, Pope Benedict XVI made his first visit to the United States
Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the United States
Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the United States took place from April 15, 2008 to April 20, 2008 and was his first visit to the United States. It was officially titled the "Apostolic Visit to the United States of America and to the Seat of the United Nations"...

 since becoming pope. He arrived in Washington, DC where he was formally received at the White House
White House
The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the president of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., the house was designed by Irish-born James Hoban, and built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the Neoclassical...

 and met privately with U.S. President George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

. While in Washington, the pope addressed representatives of US Catholic universities, met with leaders of other world religions, and celebrated Mass
Mass (liturgy)
"Mass" is one of the names by which the sacrament of the Eucharist is called in the Roman Catholic Church: others are "Eucharist", the "Lord's Supper", the "Breaking of Bread", the "Eucharistic assembly ", the "memorial of the Lord's Passion and Resurrection", the "Holy Sacrifice", the "Holy and...

 at the Washington Nationals' baseball stadium with 47,000 people. The Pope also met privately with victims of sexual abuse by priests. The pope travelled to New York where he addressed the United Nations General Assembly
United Nations General Assembly
For two articles dealing with membership in the General Assembly, see:* General Assembly members* General Assembly observersThe United Nations General Assembly is one of the five principal organs of the United Nations and the only one in which all member nations have equal representation...

. Also while in New York, the pope celebrated Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral
St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York
The Cathedral of St. Patrick is a decorated Neo-Gothic-style Roman Catholic cathedral church in the United States...

, met with disabled children and their families, and attended an event for Catholic youth, where he addressed some 25,000 young people in attendance. On the final day of the pope's visit, he visited the World Trade Center
World Trade Center
The original World Trade Center was a complex with seven buildings featuring landmark twin towers in Lower Manhattan, New York City, United States. The complex opened on April 4, 1973, and was destroyed in 2001 during the September 11 attacks. The site is currently being rebuilt with five new...

 site and later celebrated Mass at Yankee Stadium.

In July 2008, the Pope travelled to Australia to attend World Youth Day 2008
World Youth Day 2008
The 23rd World Youth Day 2008 was a Catholic youth festival that started on 15 July and continued until 20 July 2008 in Sydney, Australia. It was the first World Youth Day held in Australia and the first World Youth Day in Oceania. This meeting was decided by Pope Benedict XVI, during the Cologne...

 in Sydney. On 19 July, in St. Mary's Cathedral
St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney
The Metropolitan Cathedral of St Mary is the cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney and the seat of the Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell. The cathedral is dedicated to "Mary, Help of Christians", Patron of Australia...

, he made an apology for child sex abuse perpetrated by the clergy in Australia. On 13 September 2008, at an outdoor Paris Mass attended by 250,000 people, Pope Benedict XVI condemned the modern materialism
Materialism
In philosophy, the theory of materialism holds that the only thing that exists is matter; that all things are composed of material and all phenomena are the result of material interactions. In other words, matter is the only substance...

 – the world's love of power, possessions and money as a modern-day plague, comparing it to paganism
Paganism
Paganism is a blanket term, typically used to refer to non-Abrahamic, indigenous polytheistic religious traditions....

.

In 2009, he visited Africa (Cameroon
Cameroon
Cameroon, officially the Republic of Cameroon , is a country in west Central Africa. It is bordered by Nigeria to the west; Chad to the northeast; the Central African Republic to the east; and Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and the Republic of the Congo to the south. Cameroon's coastline lies on the...

 and Angola
Angola
Angola, officially the Republic of Angola , is a country in south-central Africa bordered by Namibia on the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the north, and Zambia on the east; its west coast is on the Atlantic Ocean with Luanda as its capital city...

) 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
Magic (paranormal)
Magic is the claimed art of manipulating aspects of reality either by supernatural means or through knowledge of occult laws unknown to science. It is in contrast to science, in that science does not accept anything not subject to either direct or indirect observation, and subject to logical...

.

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
Urbi et Orbi
Urbi et Orbi denotes a papal address and Apostolic Blessing that is given to the City of Rome and to the entire world, on certain occasions. It was a standard opening of Ancient Roman proclamations....

 are delivered from St Peter's Basilica. The Vatican is also the only regular place where the Pope travels via motor without the protective bulletproof 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. On Thursday, 24 December 2009, while Pope Benedict was proceeding to the altar to celebrate Christmas Eve Mass
Mass
Mass can be defined as a quantitive measure of the resistance an object has to change in its velocity.In physics, mass commonly refers to any of the following three properties of matter, which have been shown experimentally to be equivalent:...

 at St Peter's Basilica, a woman later identified as 25-year-old Susanna Maiolo
Susanna Maiolo
Susanna Maiolo is a woman with Italian and Swiss citizenship who rushed towards Pope Benedict XVI twice, most recently at Christmas Eve Midnight Mass, 24 December 2009, inside St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. She knocked the Pope and French cardinal Roger Etchegaray to the ground, and broke...

, 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 Etchegaray, 87, the vice-dean of the College of Cardinals
College of Cardinals
The College of Cardinals is the body of all cardinals of the Catholic Church.A function of the college is to advise the pope about church matters when he summons them to an ordinary consistory. It also convenes on the death or abdication of a pope as a papal conclave to elect a successor...

, fell also and suffered a hip fracture. 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.

In his homily
Homily
A homily is a commentary that follows a reading of scripture. In Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, and Eastern Orthodox Churches, a homily is usually given during Mass at the end of the Liturgy of the Word...

, Pope Benedict forgave Susanna Maiolo and urged the world to "wake up" from selfishness and petty affairs, and find time for God and spiritual matters.
Between 17 and 18 April, Pope Benedict made an Apostolic Journey to the Republic of Malta
Malta
Malta , officially known as the Republic of Malta , is a Southern European country consisting of an archipelago situated in the centre of the Mediterranean, south of Sicily, east of Tunisia and north of Libya, with Gibraltar to the west and Alexandria to the east.Malta covers just over in...

. Following meetings with various dignitaries on his first day on the island, 50,000 people gathered in a drizzle
Drizzle
Drizzle is a light rain precipitation consisting of liquid water drops smaller than those of rain, and generally smaller than 0.5 mm in diameter. Drizzle is normally produced by low stratiform clouds and stratocumulus clouds. Precipitation rates due to drizzle are on the order of a millimetre...

 for Papal Mass on the granaries in Floriana
Floriana
Floriana is a town in Malta, just outside the capital city Valletta. Floriana is the birthplace of many famous Maltese, amongst which the composer of the national anthem, 'L-Innu Malti', Robert Samut; former Bishop of Malta Dom Mauro Caruana, the poet Oliver Friggieri, and Swedish Idol winner...

. The Pope also met with the Maltese
Maltese people
The Maltese are an ethnic group indigenous to the Southern European nation of Malta, and identified with the Maltese language. Malta is an island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea...

 youth at the Valletta
Valletta
Valletta is the capital of Malta, colloquially known as Il-Belt in Maltese. It is located in the central-eastern portion of the island of Malta, and the historical city has a population of 6,098. The name "Valletta" is traditionally reserved for the historic walled citadel that serves as Malta's...

 Waterfront, where an estimated 10,000 young people turned up to greet him. During his visit the Pope was moved to tears while expressing his shame at cases of abuse on the island during a 20 minute meeting with victims.

Response


Prior to 2001, the primary responsibility for investigating allegations of sexual abuse and disciplining perpetrators rested with the individual dioceses. In 2001, Ratzinger convinced John Paul II to put the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith , previously known as the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition , and after 1904 called the Supreme...

 in charge of all investigations and policies surrounding sexual abuse in order to combat such abuse more efficiently. According to John L. Allen, Jr.
John L. Allen, Jr.
John L. Allen, Jr. is an American journalist based in Rome who specializes in news about the Catholic Church. He is senior correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter and vaticanologist of CNN and NPR. Allen is also the author of several books about the Catholic Church...

, Ratzinger in the following years "acquired a familiarity with the contours of the problem that virtually no other figure in the Catholic church can claim" and "driven by that encounter with what he would later refer to as 'filth' in the church, Ratzinger seems to have undergone something of a 'conversion experience' throughout 2003–04. From that point forward, he and his staff seemed driven by a convert's zeal to clean up the mess". In his role as Head of the CFD, he "led important changes made in church law: the inclusion in canon law of internet offences against children, the extension of child abuse offences to include the sexual abuse of all under 18, the case by case waiving of the statute of limitation and the establishment of a fast-track dismissal from the clerical state for offenders." As the Head of the CDF, Ratzinger developed a reputation for handling these cases. According to Charles J. Scicluna, a former prosecutor handling sexual abuse cases, "Cardinal Ratzinger displayed great wisdom and firmness in handling those cases, also demonstrating great courage in facing some of the most difficult and thorny cases, sine acceptione personarum (without exceptions)".

One of the cases Ratzinger pursued involved Father Marcial Maciel Degollado, a Mexican priest and founder of the Legion of Christ
Legion of Christ
The Legion of Christ is a Roman Catholic congregation of pontifical right, made up of priests and seminarians studying for the priesthood. It was founded in Mexico in 1941, by Fr. Marcial Maciel, who directed the congregation as its General Superior until January 2005...

, who had been accused repeatedly of sexual abuse. Biographer Andrea Tornielli suggested that Cardinal Ratzinger had wanted to take action against Marcial Maciel Degollado, but that John Paul II and other high-ranking officials, including several cardinals and notably the pope's influential secretary Stanisław Dziwisz, prevented him from doing so. According to Jason Berry
Jason Berry
Jason Berry is an investigative reporter in New Orleans, an American author and film director. He is renowned for pioneering investigative reporting on sexual abuse in the priesthood of the Catholic Church....

, Angelo Sodano "pressured" Cardinal Ratzinger, who was "operating on the assumption that the charges were not justified", to halt the proceedings against Maciel in 1999 When Maciel was honored by the Pope in 2004, new accusers came forward and Cardinal Ratzinger "took it on himself to authorize an investigation of Maciel" After Ratzinger became pope he began proceedings against Maciel and the Legion of Christ
Legion of Christ
The Legion of Christ is a Roman Catholic congregation of pontifical right, made up of priests and seminarians studying for the priesthood. It was founded in Mexico in 1941, by Fr. Marcial Maciel, who directed the congregation as its General Superior until January 2005...

 that forced Maciel out of active service in the church. On 1 May 2010 the Vatican issued a statement denouncing Maciel's "very serious and objectively immoral acts", which were "confirmed by incontrovertible testimonies" and represent "true crimes and manifest a life without scruples or authentic religious sentiment." Pope Benedict also said he would appoint a special commission to examine the Legionaries’ constitution and open an investigation into its lay affiliate Regnum Christi
Regnum Christi
Regnum Christi is an international Roman Catholic lay ecclesial movement associated with the Legion of Christ, founded by Fr. Marcial Maciel. Regnum Christi is dedicated to promoting the Catholic faith. Their motto is "Love Christ, Serve People, Build the Church."-History:The first draft of the...

. Cardinal Christoph Schönborn explained that Ratzinger "made entirely clear efforts not to cover things up but to tackle and investigate them. This was not always met with approval in the Vatican". According to Schönborn, Cardinal Ratzinger had pressed John Paul II to investigate Hans Hermann Groër
Hans Hermann Groër
Hans Hermann Wilhelm Groër, OSB was an Austrian Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Archbishop of Vienna from 1986 to 1995, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1988...

, an Austrian cardinal and friend of John Paul accused of sexual abuse, resulting in Groër's resignation.

In March 2010, the Pope sent a Pastoral Letter to the Catholic Church in Ireland addressing cases of sexual abuse by Catholic priests to minors, expressing sorrow, and promising changes in the way accusations of abuse are dealt with. Victim groups claim the letter failed to clarify if secular law enforcement has priority over canon law confidentiality pertaining to internal investigation of abuse allegations. The Pope then promised to introduce measures that would 'safeguard young people in the future' and 'bring to justice' priests who were responsible for abuse. In April, the Vatican issued guidelines on how existing church law should be implemented. The guideline dictates that "Civil law concerning reporting of crimes... should always be followed." The guideline was intended to follow the norms established by U.S. bishops, but it does not require the reporting of "allegations" or crimes where reporting is not required by law.

Attire




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
Papal shoes
The Papal shoes are the red leather outdoor shoes worn by the Pope. They should not be confused with the indoor papal slippers or the Episcopal sandals, which are the liturgical footwear proper to all Latin Rite bishops....

, 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
Prada
Prada S.p.A. is an Italian fashion label specializing in luxury goods for men and women , founded by Mario Prada.-Foundations:...

, the Vatican
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

 announced that the shoes were provided by the pope's personal shoemaker.

On 21 December 2005, the pope began wearing the camauro
Camauro
A camauro is a cap traditionally worn by the Pope of the Catholic Church....

, 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
Cappello romano
A cappello romano or saturno is a hat with a wide, circular brim and a rounded rim worn outdoors in some countries by Catholic clergy, when dressed in a cassock. It is made of either beaver fur or felt, and lined in white silk...

 (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, in order to have free time to write, and because he reached the age limit for bishops (75) 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 but he recovered completely. This was never affirmed – the official news was that Cardinal Ratzinger fell and struck his head against a radiator – but an open secret known to the Conclave that elected him Pope.

Since he became Pope in April 2005 there were several rumors about his health but none of them was ever confirmed. Early in his pontificate Pope Benedict XVI predicted a short reign which led to concerns about his health. In May 2005, the Vatican revealed that he had subsequently suffered another mild stroke. French Cardinal Philippe 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, Vatican insiders told the international press that the Pope had a routine examination of the heart. A few days later an unconfirmed rumor emerged that Pope Benedict had undergone an operation in preparation for an eventual bypass operation but this rumor was only published by a small left-wing Italian newspaper and was never confirmed by any Vatican insider.

On Friday 17 July 2009 Benedict was hospitalised after falling and breaking his right wrist while on vacation in the Alps. His injuries were reported to be minor.

Titles and style


The official style 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 Christ
Vicar of Christ
Vicar of Christ is a term used in different ways, with different theological connotations throughout history...

, Successor of the Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff
Pontifex Maximus
The Pontifex Maximus was the high priest of the College of Pontiffs in ancient Rome. This was the most important position in the ancient Roman religion, open only to patricians until 254 BC, when a plebeian first occupied this post...

 of the Universal Church, Primate
Primate (religion)
Primate is a title or rank bestowed on some bishops in certain Christian churches. Depending on the particular tradition, it can denote either jurisdictional authority or ceremonial precedence ....

 of Italy, Archbishop
Archbishop
An archbishop is a bishop of higher rank, but not of higher sacramental order above that of the three orders of deacon, priest , and bishop...

 and Metropolitan
Metropolitan bishop
In Christian churches with episcopal polity, the rank of metropolitan bishop, or simply metropolitan, pertains to the diocesan bishop or archbishop of a metropolis; that is, the chief city of a historical Roman province, ecclesiastical province, or regional capital.Before the establishment of...

 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
Pope Theodore I
Pope Theodore I , who was pope from November 24, 642, to May 14, 649, is considered a Greek, but was born in Jerusalem. He was made a cardinal deacon, and a full cardinal by Pope John IV....

, but was rarely used since the East-West Schism
East-West Schism
The East–West Schism of 1054, sometimes known as the Great Schism, formally divided the State church of the Roman Empire into Eastern and Western branches, which later became known as the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church, respectively...

 of 1054. From the Orthodox perspective, authority in the Church could be traced to the five patriarchates of Rome, Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

, Alexandria
Alexandria
Alexandria is the second-largest city of Egypt, with a population of 4.1 million, extending about along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country; it is also the largest city lying directly on the Mediterranean coast. It is Egypt's largest seaport, serving...

, Antioch
Antioch
Antioch on the Orontes was an ancient city on the eastern side of the Orontes River. It is near the modern city of Antakya, Turkey.Founded near the end of the 4th century BC by Seleucus I Nicator, one of Alexander the Great's generals, Antioch eventually rivaled Alexandria as the chief city of the...

 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
First Vatican Council
The First Vatican Council was convoked by Pope Pius IX on 29 June 1868, after a period of planning and preparation that began on 6 December 1864. This twentieth ecumenical council of the Roman Catholic Church, held three centuries after the Council of Trent, opened on 8 December 1869 and adjourned...

. Pope Benedict chose to remove the title at a time when discussions with the Orthodox churches have centred on the issue of papal primacy.

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. 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. However, the Vatican has since stated that no such change in the Church's teaching can occur. TIME 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."

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.




In November 2010, in a book-length interview, the Pope, using the example of male prostitutes, stated that the use of condoms, with the intention of reducing the risk of HIV infection, may be an indication that the prostitute is intending to reduce the evil connected with his or her immoral activity. In the same interview, the Pope also reiterated the traditional teaching of the Church that condoms are not seen as a "real or moral solution" to the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Further, in December 2010, the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith explained that the Pope's statement did not constitute a legitimization of either prostitution or contraception, both of which remain gravely immoral.

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
On the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons
The Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons, is a letter to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of the Roman Catholic Church written in 1985 and delivered in Rome on 1 October 1986 by then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and...

. 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." 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."

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."

On 22 December 2008, the Pope gave an end of year message to the Roman Curia
Roman Curia
The Roman Curia is the administrative apparatus of the Holy See and the central governing body of the entire Catholic Church, together with the Pope...

 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 characterised 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"."

LGBT
LGBT
LGBT is an initialism that collectively refers to "lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender" people. In use since the 1990s, the term "LGBT" is an adaptation of the initialism "LGB", which itself started replacing the phrase "gay community" beginning in the mid-to-late 1980s, which many within the...

 groups such as the Italian Arcigay
Arcigay
Arcigay is Italy's first and largest national gay organization.The association was first founded as a local association in Palermo in 1980, then nationally established in Bologna in 1985.. The organisation became known throughout Italy for its campaign for civil unions...

 and German LSVD
LSVD
Lesben und Schwulenverband in Deutschland is the largest civil rights organisation of homosexuals in Germany....

 have announced that they found the Pope's comments homophobic. 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."

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.

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, exile
Exile
Exile means to be away from one's home , while either being explicitly refused permission to return and/or being threatened with imprisonment or death upon return...

s, evacuees
Emergency evacuation
Emergency evacuation is the immediate and rapid movement of people away from the threat or actual occurrence of a hazard. Examples range from the small scale evacuation of a building due to a bomb threat or fire to the large scale evacuation of a district because of a flood, bombardment or...

, and internally displaced person
Internally displaced person
An internally displaced person is someone who is forced to flee his or her home but who remains within his or her country's borders. They are often referred to as refugees, although they do not fall within the current legal definition of a refugee. At the end of 2006 it was estimated there were...

s. "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."


Pope Benedict has also promoted various UN events, such as World Refugee Day
World Refugee Day
World Refugee Day, observed June 20 each year, is dedicated to raising awareness of the situation of refugees throughout the world.- History :...

, 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.

China



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.

Korea


On 13 November 2006, Benedict said the dispute over the North Korea nuclear weapons program
North Korea and weapons of mass destruction
North Korea has declared that it has nuclear weapons and is believed by many to have nuclear weapons. The CIA assesses that North Korea also has a substantial arsenal of chemical weapons...

 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 denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula
Korean Peninsula
The Korean Peninsula is a peninsula in East Asia. It extends southwards for about 684 miles from continental Asia into the Pacific Ocean and is surrounded by the Sea of Japan to the south, and the Yellow Sea to the west, the Korea Strait connecting the first two bodies of water.Until the end of...

." Benedict was talking to the new Japanese ambassador to the Vatican.

Turkey



In a 2004 Le Figaro
Le Figaro
Le Figaro is a French daily newspaper founded in 1826 and published in Paris. It is one of three French newspapers of record, with Le Monde and Libération, and is the oldest newspaper in France. It is also the second-largest national newspaper in France after Le Parisien and before Le Monde, but...

interview, Ratzinger said that Turkey, which is demographically Muslim but governmentally secular by virtue of its state constitution
Secularism in Turkey
Secularism in Turkey defines the relationship between religion and state in the country of Turkey. Secularism was first introduced with the 1928 amendment of the Constitution of 1924, which removed the provision declaring that the "Religion of the State is Islam", and with the later reforms of...

, should seek its future in an association of Muslim nations
Muslim world
The term Muslim world has several meanings. In a religious sense, it refers to those who adhere to the teachings of Islam, referred to as Muslims. In a cultural sense, it refers to Islamic civilization, inclusive of non-Muslims living in that civilization...

 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.

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
Accession of Turkey to the European Union
Turkey's application to accede to the European Union was made on 14 April 1987. Turkey has been an associate member of the European Union and its predecessors since 1963...

. Prime Minister of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been Prime Minister of Turkey since 2003 and is chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party , which holds a majority of the seats in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey. Erdoğan served as Mayor of Istanbul from 1994 to 1998. He graduated in 1981 from Marmara...

, said that the pope told him in their meeting that while the Vatican seeks to stay out of politics it desires Turkey's membership in the EU
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

. However, the Common Declaration of Pope Benedict XVI and Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople
Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I is the Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch, and thus "first among equals" in the Eastern Orthodox Communion, since 2 November 1991...

 implied that support for Turkey's membership in the European Union would be contingent on the establishment of religious freedom in Turkey: "In every step towards unification, minorities must be protected, with their cultural traditions and the distinguishing features of their religion." The Declaration also reiterates Pope Benedict XVI's call for Europe to preserve its Christian roots.

Israel



In May 2009 he visited Israel. This was the third Papal visit to the Holy Land, the previous ones being made by Pope Paul VI in 1964 and Pope John Paul II in 2000.

Vietnam



Pope Benedict XVI and Prime Minister Nguyễn Tấn Dũng met at the Vatican on 25 January 2007 in a "new and important step towards establishing diplomatic ties". The Pope met with President
President of Vietnam
The President of Vietnam is the head of state of Vietnam, although the functions of the President are often ceremonial...

 Nguyễn Minh Triết on 11 December 2009. Vatican officials called the meeting "a significant stage in the progress of bilateral relations with Vietnam."

Global economy


In 2009 the Pope intervened in global economic and political affairs with his third encyclical, Charity in Truth (Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 Caritas in Veritate), which can be viewed on the Vatican's web site.
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.

Nuclear energy


Pope Benedict XVI has called for nuclear disarmament
Nuclear disarmament
Nuclear disarmament refers to both the act of reducing or eliminating nuclear weapons and to the end state of a nuclear-free world, in which nuclear weapons are completely eliminated....

. At the same time, he has supported the peaceful use of nuclear energy as a tool for development and the fight against poverty. In his message for the 50th anniversary of the founding of the International Atomic Energy Agency
International Atomic Energy Agency
The International Atomic Energy Agency is an international organization that seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and to inhibit its use for any military purpose, including nuclear weapons. The IAEA was established as an autonomous organization on 29 July 1957...

, he confirmed: "The Holy See, fully approving of the IAEA's goal, has been a member from the organisation's foundation and continues to support its activity."

Interests


Pope Benedict is known to be deeply interested in classical music, and is an accomplished pianist. He has a grand piano in his papal quarters. The Pontiff's favorite composer is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart , baptismal name Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart , was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical era. He composed over 600 works, many acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, concertante, chamber, piano, operatic, and choral music...

, of whose music the Pope said: "His music is by no means just entertainment; it contains the whole tragedy of human existence." Benedict also stated that Mozart's music affected him greatly as a young man and "deeply penetrated his soul." Benedict's favorite works of music are Mozart's Clarinet Concerto
Clarinet Concerto (Mozart)
Mozart's Clarinet concerto in A major, K. 622 was written in 1791 for the clarinetist Anton Stadler.It consists of the usual three movements, in a fast–slow–fast form:# Allegro# Adagio# Rondo: Allegro...

 and Clarinet Quintet
Clarinet Quintet (Mozart)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, K. 581, was written in 1789 for the clarinetist Anton Stadler. A clarinet quintet is a work for one clarinet and a string quartet . Although originally written for basset clarinet, it is almost always played on a clarinet in A or B-flat...

.

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

Pope Benedict is also known to be fond of cats. As Cardinal Ratzinger he was known to look after stray cats
Feral cat
A feral cat is a descendant of a domesticated cat that has returned to the wild. It is distinguished from a stray cat, which is a pet cat that has been lost or abandoned, while feral cats are born in the wild; the offspring of a stray cat can be considered feral if born in the wild.In many parts of...

 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 an orange tabby Pentling
Pentling
Pentling is a municipality in the Regensburg district of Bavaria in Germany. Pope Benedict XVI has lived there since 1969; he still has his house there....

 cat, which belonged to the family next door. During his trip to Australia for World Youth Day
World Youth Day
World Youth Day is a youth-oriented Catholic Church event. While the event itself celebrates the Catholic faith, the invitation to attend extends to all youth, regardless of religious convictions....

 in 2008 the media reported that festival organizers lent the Pope a grey cat called Bella in order to keep him company during his stay.

Honours and awards


1977 Grand Cross of the National Order of Merit of the Republic of Ecuador
1977 Bavarian Order of Merit
Bavarian Order of Merit
The Bavarian Order of Merit is the order of merit of the Free State of Bavaria. It is awarded by the Minister-President of Bavaria as a "recognition of outstanding contributions to the Free State of Bavaria and the Bavarian people"....

1985 Great Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany with Star and Sash
1985 Constitutional Medal of the Bavarian state parliament
Landtag of Bavaria
The Landtag of Bavaria is the unicameral legislature of the state of Bavaria in Germany. Between 1946 and 1999 there was an upper house, the Senate of Bavaria. The parliament meets in the Maximilianeum....

 in Gold
1989 Ordine della Minerva at the University of Chieti
University of Chieti
The G. d'Annunzio University is a university located in Chieti and Pescara, Italy. It was founded in 1960 and is organized in 11 Faculties. Student enrollment at the University is currently in excess of 23,000.-History:...

1989 Augustin Bea Prize (Rome)
1989 Karl-Valentin-Orden (Munich)
1991 Leopold Kunschak Prize (Vienna)
1991 Georg von Hertling Medal of CT
1992 Grand Gold Medal with Ribbon for Services to the Republic of Austria
Decoration for Services to the Republic of Austria
The Decoration of Honour for Services to the Republic of Austria is a state decoration of the Republic of Austria...

1992 Literature Prize Capri S. Michele in Anacapri
Anacapri
Anacapri is a comune on the island of Capri, in the province of Naples, Italy. The Ancient Greek prefix ana means "up" or "above", signifying that Anacapri is located at a higher elevation on the island than Capri . Administratively, it has a separate status from the city of Capri...

1992 Premio Internazionale di Cultura Cattolica, Bassano del Grappa
1993 literary prize Premio Letterario Basilicata per la Letteratura e Poesia religiosa Spirituale in Potenza (Italy)
1996 Bavarian Maximilian Order for Science and the Arts
1998 Commander of the Legion of Honour (Legion d'Honneur) (France)
2002 Liberal Trieste
2004 Literature Prize Capri S. Michele in Anacapri

See also


  • Georg Gänswein
    Georg Gänswein
    Georg Gänswein is a German Priest of the Roman Catholic Church, and the personal secretary of Pope Benedict XVI...

     – private secretary to Benedict
  • List of books by Pope Benedict XVI
  • List of encyclicals of Pope Benedict XVI
  • List of journeys of Pope Benedict XVI
  • Papal regalia and insignia
    Papal regalia and insignia
    Papal regalia and insignia are the official items of attire and decoration proper to the Pope in his capacity as the head of the Roman Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State.- Regalia :...

     – papal attire
  • Pope Benedict
    Pope Benedict
    Benedict is the regnal name of the current Roman pontiff, Pope Benedict XVI and has been the name of fourteen other popes :*Pope Benedict I *Pope Benedict II...

     – list of other popes and antipope
    Antipope
    An antipope is a person who opposes a legitimately elected or sitting Pope and makes a significantly accepted competing claim to be the Pope, the Bishop of Rome and leader of the Roman Catholic Church. At times between the 3rd and mid-15th century, antipopes were typically those supported by a...

    s using the name Benedict
  • Three Secrets of Fátima
    Three Secrets of Fatima
    The Three Secrets of Fátima consist of a series of visions and prophecies given by an apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary to three young Portuguese shepherds, Lúcia Santos and her cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto, starting on 13 May 1917. The three children claimed to have been visited by a...

     – document on the release of the Third Secret of Fátima
  • Works of Pope Benedict XVI
    Works of Pope Benedict XVI
    These are the works written by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, elected Pope Benedict XVI:-As Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger :* JESUS VON NAZARETH, Erster Teil, Von der Taufe im Jordan bis zur Verklärung, Freiburg im Breisgau 2007, ISBN 3-451-29861-5* Dialektik der Säkularisierung , Freiburg im Breisgau...

     – literature written by Pope Benedict XVI

Documentaries

  • The Keys of the Kingdom, from John Paul II to Benedict XVI, produced by Vatican Television Center
    Vatican Television Center
    The Vatican Television Center is the national broadcaster of the state of Vatican City. Vatican Central Television was first aired in 1983.-History of the channel :...

    , distributed by HDH Communications, 2006.

External links




Encyclicals by Benedict XVI