A Life and Papacy Revealed
On April 19, 2005 Joseph Alois Ratzinger was elected as successor to the beloved Pope John Paul II. He was formally enthroned during the papal inauguration Mass on April 24, 2005 and chose the name of Pope Benedict XVI (Wiki P. Ben XVI bio). Elected at the age of 78 Pope Benedict XVI was the oldest to be elected Pope since Clement XII in 1730 (Wiki P. Ben XVI bio). Pope Benedict is only the eight German Pope to be elected into office the last being Adrian VI (1522-1523) (Wiki P. Ben XVI bio).
His Early Life
Joseph Alois Ratzinger was born on Holy Saturday April 16, 1927 at his parents' home in Marktl am Inn, Germany (Ewtn P. Ben XVI bio). He was the first person baptized in the Easter Water and blessed at the Easter Vigil (Ewtn P. Ben XVI bio). His father, Joseph Ratzinger Sr., was a policeman from a family of farmers from lower Baveria and his mother, Maria Ratzinger, was from a family of South Tyrol (Ewtn P. Ben XVI bio). In 1929 Joseph and his family moved to Tittmoning, a small town on the Salzach River, on the Austrian border (Ewtn P. Ben xvi bio). In 1932 his father's outspoken criticism of the Nazis required the family to relocate to Auschau am Inn (Wiki P. Ben XVI bio). His father retired in 1937, and his family moved to Hufschlag, outside of Traunstein (Wiki P. Ben XVI bio). There Joseph began studying classical languages at his local high school (Ewtn P. Ben XVI bio). In 1939, he entered the minor seminary in Traunstein, his first step toward the priesthood (Ewtn P. Ben XVI bio). Military Backround
World War II forced a postponement of young Ratzinger's studies. In 1943, at the age of 16, Ratzinger was drafted with many of his friends into the anti-aircraft artillery corps (Wiki P. Ben XVI bio). Ratzinger and his classmates were posted all over Europe to help in guarding aircraft engine plants (Wiki P. Ben XVI bio). According to John Allen, author of Cardinal Ratzinger: The Vatican's Enforcer of Faith, "Ratzinger was only briefly a member and not an enthusiastic one at that." This was mostly due to the fact that an infected finger prevented him from learning how to shoot (Time 40). On September 10, 1944, Ratzinger was given new notice for the "Reichsarbeitsdienst" (Wiki P. Ben XVI bio). He was posted at the Hungarian border area of Austria, which had been annexed by Germany (Wiki P. Ben XVI bio). There he was trained in the "cult of the spade" (Wiki P. Ben XVI bio). While Hungary was occupied by the Red Army, Ratzinger was put into work setting up tank traps near the borders of Czechoslovakia. (Time 43). This is where he recalled in a 1993 interview with Time Magazine that he saw Hungarian Jews being shipped to their death. After being a witness to such horrifc acts he deserted his duties in the military and did some time in an American P.O.W camp and made his way back home (Time 43). Many supporters of Pope Benedict feel that his involvement in the Nazi military actually strengthened his religious faith. Lucy Difilippo a religious teacher at O.L.A parish stated " I feel very comfortable having a newly elected Pope who had such experiences I believe that it gives him a better understanding of similar current events which in the long run will help him to make the right decisions."
Education & Early Church Teachings
After he returned home from his military duties in 1945, he and his brother Georg entered into the Catholic seminary of Freising (Locker P. Ben XVI edu). They both decided to study at the Herzogliches Georgianum of the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich (Locker P. Ben XVI edu). On June 29 1951, both Joseph and his brother were ordained to the priesthood by Cardinal Faulhaber, in the Cathedral in Freising (Ewtn P. Ben XVI bio.). Continuing his theological studies at the University of Munich, he was able to receive his doctorate in theology in July 1953, with a thesis titled The People and House of God in Augustine's doctrine of the...