April 16, 1927: Born Joseph Alois Ratzinger
in Marktl am Inn, Germany, to Joseph Ratzinger, Sr. and his wife, Maria.
1939: Entered the seminarian school in Traunstein at
1941: Required by law to enroll in the Hitler Youth.
Released to continue his training for the priesthood.
1943: Drafted into the German army and served in the
auxiliary anti-aircraft corps.
1945: Deserted the Germany army in May; taken prisoner
by American forces and held in a POW camp for several weeks. After his
release he and his older brother, Georg, re- entered the seminary.
1946 – 1951: Studied philosophy and theology at
the University of Munich and at a higher school in Freising.
1951: Ordained to the priesthood.
1953: Obtained a doctorate in theology.
1959 – 1969: After qualifying as a uni- versity
teacher, taught dogma and fun- damental theology at the higher school
of philosophy and theology at Freising in Bonn. Also taught at uni- versities
in Munster (1963 – 1966), Tubingen (1966 – 1969), and Ratisbon
(1969 – 1977).
1962 – 1965: Served as a chief
theological expert to Cardinal Joseph Frings of Cologne, Germany, at the
Second Vatican Council.
1969 – 1977: Member of the International Theological
1972: Founded the theological journal, “Communio”
with Hans Urs von Balthasar, Henri de Lubac and others.
1977: Appointed archbishop of Munich and Freising by
Pope Paul VI in March. Created cardinal in June.
1978: Participated in the conclaves electing Pope John
Paul I (Aug. 25 – 28) and Pope John Paul II
(Oct. 14 – 16).
1981: Named Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine
of the Faith, formerly known as the Holy Office of the Inquisition, by
Pope John Paul II.
1986-1992: Served as president of the Commission for the Preparation
of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which he presented to the Holy
Father in 1992.
1998: Elected vice dean of the College of Cardinals.
2002: Elected dean of the College of Cardinals.
April 2, 2005:
Death of Pope John Paul II.
April 8, 2005: Presided at the funeral Mass of the late
Holy Father in St. Peter's Basilica.
April 19, 2005: Elected pope on the second day of the
papal conclave; takes the name Benedict XVI.
Pope Benedict XVI waves from a balcony of St. Peter's
Basilica in the Vatican after being elected by the conclave of cardinals,
Pope Benedict XVI
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts
of your faithful.
And kindle in them the fire of your love.
Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created.
And you will renew the face of the earth.
O Divine Spirit,
you who were sent upon the early church on Pentecost,
pour out your gifts of wisdom and discernment
upon our new pope, Benedict XVI.
Grace him with the inner strength to
reach out to the poor and brokenhearted,
preach the Gospel with courage and compassion,
treasure life in all its forms,
heal the wounds of an aching church,
and build bridges of peace north, south, east, and west.
O Holy Spirit, you who dwell in the depths of our hearts,
inspire us to do these things as well.
Knit us together with bonds of charity,
that we, your Church, might stand as a living witness,
a visible sign of God’s invisible love for the world.
We ask all this, through Christ our Lord.
Julie McCarty, April 19, 2005