Benedict XVI

Benedict XVI Biography

Benedict XVI Biography

Benedict XVI, secularly named Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger, was born in Marktl am Inn, Bavaria, Germany on April 16, 1927, and officiated as the 265th Pope in the history of the Catholic Church, in addition to be the seventh sovereign of the City of Vatican. He is the son of Joseph Ratzinger who was a police officer and Maria Rieger. In his family, his brothers had religious duties since his brother Georg Ratzinger officiated as a priest and his sister Maria Ratzinger administered the cardinal house of his brother. On December 5, 1932, they moved to Aschau am Inn, where Joseph completed his entire schooling.

In 1943, he had to join the military service, where he carried out protective work for the BMW company located in Traunstein, on the outskirts of Munich. Sometime later, he was sent to Austria to carry out anti-tank protection work. At that time, Joseph already showed interest in being a priest, and to whoever asked about his future, he always expressed his interests in having that vocation.

Between 1946 and 1951, he studied Catholic theology and philosophy at the University of Freising, the Herzogliches Georgianum of the University of Munich and the University of Freiburg. He received the sacrament of the priestly order on June 28, 1951, in the cathedral of Freising and gave his first mass in the church of San Oswaldo in Traunstein.

By 1952, he was chosen to teach at the Seminary of Freising. Seven years later, he worked as a teacher at the University of Bonn, where he gave his first lecture on “The God of faith and the God of philosophy.” He was the theological advisor of Cardinal Josef Frings, and later defended the Council in its various documents, including Nostra Aetate, which dealt with respect to other religions.

In 1968, he wrote in his book entitled “Introduction to Christianity” that for the Pope to make a decision, he had to take into account the opinions of church members, to obtain better results in the measures taken, and proposed that the church of that time was very centralized, those opinions were taken in a negative way, so they were eliminated and subsequent editions of his book. Around 1972, he was part of the theological publication Communio together with Hans Urs von Balthasar, Henri de Lubac, among other participants, this publication was translated into 17 languages ​​and is one of the most influential Catholic publications in the world.

He became archbishop of Munich and Freising on March 24, 1977, and on June 27 of that same year, Paul VI appointed him cardinal of the title of St. Mary Consolatrice al Tiburtino.

Benedict XVI was named prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith, on November 25, 1981, where Pope John Paul II was commissioned to assemble it. A year later, he submitted his resignation to the archdiocese of Munich and Freising, and eleven years after was appointed the bishop of Velletri-Segni. In 1998 he was appointed vice-dean of the College of Cardinals and, thanks to his good performance, he was promoted to dean in 2002.

For the year 2005, Pope John Paul II had some health problems, so many future names sounded to be the successor of the office, the name of Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger was the strongest candidate, thanks to the excellent work done as a cardinal. On April 19 of that same year, after four rounds of voting on the second day of the conclave, he was chosen as the new Pope. Benedict XVI. Then he was introduced to the crowd of people to whom he gave the blessing, and said:

“Dear brothers and sisters: after the great Pope John Paul II, the Cardinals have chosen me, a simple and humble worker of the vineyard of the Lord. I am comforted by the fact that the Lord knows how to work and act even with insufficient instruments, and above all, I entrust myself to your prayers. In the joy of the risen Lord, trusting in his continued help, let us move forward. The Lord will help us and Mary, your most holy Mother will be at our side. Thank you!”

In August 2005, Benedict XVI attended his first social aid event in Cologne, where he participated in the World Youth Day. In October of that year, he was also part of the Synod of Bishops where he added certain free interventions on the vote to Catholic politicians who were in favor of abortion.

In his position as pope, Benedict XVI began to publish encyclicals, and the first one was published on January 25, 2006. Deus Caritas Est divided into two parts, in the first part he explained the love of God in the creation and in the history of salvation; In the second part, he explains about the exercise of the clergy on the part of the church, which he calls the community of love.

For April 16, 2006, he sent a thoughtful message for the solution of the nuclear conflict between the United States and Iraq.

Spe Salvi was his second encyclical presented on November 30, 2007, in which he explained that life does not end in a vacuum, but flows into the moment full of satisfaction, of immersing oneself in infinite love, in eternal life in the one that the time no longer exists.

Between 2007 and 2012, Ratzinger published three books that examined the life of Jesus, where he was based on data of the gospel and other writings of the new testament. In April 2007, he published the first part of the book entitled “Jesus of Nazareth” where he explained the role of Jesus Christ in a role as a theologian; the second part of his book was published in 2011 with the name “Jesus of Nazareth: From the entrance to Jerusalem until the Resurrection” and finally the last part was published a year later with the title “The childhood of Jesus.”

On June 29, 2009, he signed his third encyclical, which he called Caritas in Veritate, and presented on July 7 of that same year. This encyclical applied the teachings of the first two, to the social issues that the modern world has.



  • Sacramentum Caritatis: in March 2007.
  • Verbum Domini: November 2010.
  • Africae munus, November 19, 2011.
  • Church in the Middle East, September 14, 2012.



Among the canonizations and beatifications during the papal period of Benedict XVI, stand out:

  • Mariana Cope de Molokai.
  • Clemens August Graf von Galen, who was a cardinal bishop of Münster.
  • Josep Tàpies and six fellow priests of the Diocese of Urgel, who died martyrs in 1936.
  • Carlos de Foucauld. José Anacleto González Flores and eight fellow martyrs in Mexico in 1927.
  • Antonio Rosmini. Juan de Palafox y Mendoza, bishop of Puebla and Osma. Approved on October 28, 2007 the beatification of 495 Spanish martyrs.
  • Jhon Paul II, on May 1, 2011.



  • Germany: August 18 to August 21, 2005, September 9 to 14, 2006. Poland: May 25 to May 28, 2006.
  • Spain: July 8 to July 9, 2006, 6 to November 7, 2010.
  • Turkey: November 28 to December 1, 2006.
  • Brazil: May 9 to 11, 2007.
  • Austria: September 7 to 9, 2007.
  • United States: April 15 to 21, 2008.
  • Australia: July 17 to 20, 2009.
  • France: September 12 to 15, 2008.
  • African Continent: March 17 to 23, 2009.
  • Benin: November 18 to 20, 2011.
  • Mexico: March 23, 2012.
  • Cuba : March 26.
  • Libano: September 14 to 16, 2012.


Benedict XVI announced on February 11, 2013, the retirement from his position as Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church, explained that he lacked strength. He communicated his decision in the session of canonization of the martyrs of Otranto, where he said:

“I have come to the certainty that my strength, due to my advanced age, does not suit for more time to exercise the Petrine ministry. I declare with a complete freedom that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome and successor of Peter.”

On May 2, 2013, he moved to the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery, where he remains dedicated to prayer and other religious work. He was also recognized as Pope Emeritus and as Bishop Emeritus of Rome.



  • Soberano Grand Master of the Supreme Order of Cristo.
  • Soberano Grand Master of the Order of the Spur of Oro.
  • Soberano Grand Master of the Order of Pius IX.
  • Soberano Grand Master of the Order of San Gregorio Magno.
  • Soberano Grand Master of the Order of San Silvestre.

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