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INDEPTH: THE POPE
Pope Benedict XVI: Joseph Ratzinger of Germany
CBC News Online | May 25, 2006

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was named Pope on April 19, 2005. Choosing the name Benedict XVI, the Pope is the first German to hold the office since the 11th century, when monarchs from the region appointed four men in a row to the papacy.

20th century Popes:
Leo XIII:
Feb. 20, 1878-July 20, 1903.

Pius X:
Aug. 4, 1903-Aug. 20, 1914.

Benedict XV:
Sept. 3, 1914-Jan. 22, 1922.

Pius XI:
Feb. 6, 1922-Feb. 10, 1939.

Pius XII:
March 2, 1939-Oct. 9, 1958.

John XXIII:
Oct. 28, 1958-June 3, 1963.

Paul VI:
June 21, 1963-Aug. 6, 1978.

John Paul I:
Aug. 26-Sept. 28, 1978.

John Paul II:
Oct. 16, 1978-April 2, 2005.

April 16, 1927: Joseph Ratzinger born in Marktl am Inn, Bavaria.

1937: His father retires and the family moves to a village outside the city of Traunstein.

1939: Enters the minor seminary in Traunstein.

1941: Ratzinger turns 14, and is required by law to join the Hitler Youth.

1943: At 16, Ratzinger and the rest of his seminary class are drafted into the German anti-aircraft corps.

1944: Ratzinger is drafted into a labour detail and undergoes basic training in the German infantry.

1945: Deserts the army and returns to Traunstein. He is briefly held by American forces in a prisoner of war camp. After he is released, he and his brother Georg re-enter the seminary.

1947: Enrols in a theological institute associated with the University of Munich.

1951: Joseph and Georg Ratzinger are ordained into the priesthood by Cardinal Faulhaber of Munich.

1953: Receives his doctorate in theology from the University of Munich. His would write his dissertations on St. Augustine and St. Bonaventure.

1959: Begins lecturing as a full professor of fundamental theology at the University of Bonn.

1962-65: Participates in all four sessions of the Second Vatican Council as chief theological adviser to Cardinal Joseph Frings of Cologne, Germany.

1963: Starts teaching at the University of Muenster.

1966: Accepts a chair in dogmatic theology at the University of Tuebingen.

1969: Becomes disillusioned with the liberal atmosphere at Tuebingen and the growing Marxist student movement, and moves back to Bavaria, to the University of Regensburg.

1972: Becomes one of the co-founders of Communio, a quarterly journal of Catholic theology.

1977: Named Archbishop of Munich and Freising in March and elevated to Cardinal of Munich in June by Pope Paul VI.

Cardinal Ratzinger
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (AP Photo)
1980: Pope John Paul II asks Ratzinger to lead the Congregation for Catholic Education. He declines.

1981: The Pope names Ratzinger prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, known until 1908 as the Holy Office of the Inquisition.

1982: Resigns as Archbishop of Munich.

1993: Becomes cardinal-bishop of the see of Velletri-Segni.

1998: Named vice-dean of the College of Cardinals.

2002: Elected dean of the College of Cardinals, and given the title Cardinal-Bishop of Ostia.

2005: The Jan. 2 edition of Time magazine quotes an unnamed source at the Vatican saying Ratzinger is the frontrunner to succeed John Paul II.

Upon the death of John Paul II, Ratzinger resigns as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He leads the papal conclave to choose the next pope.

Ratzinger is elected as Pope on April 19, 2005. He chooses the name Pope Benedict XVI.

The new Pope Benedict XVI travelled to Cologne, Germany, in August 2005 for World Youth Day.

2006: Pope Benedict travelled to Poland for a four-day visit to the late John Paul II's homeland. He was there to honour the memory of John Paul II and to enhance diplomatic relations between the new papacy and Poland, a country with the largest concentration of Catholics in Europe. He was met at the airport by the Polish president Lech Kaczynski and a military honour guard. During his trip, he visited Auschwitz and Birkenau, the Nazi death camps where millions of Jews died during the Second World War.


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