Pope Benedict XVI

From Sources in the Internet - April 19, 2005


From the Vatican - Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict's XVI's 1st Public Greeting

Pope Benedict XVI

What is in a name?

Cardinal Ratzinger's Homily in Mass Before Conclave

Links to a few documents written by Cardinal Ratzinger


Pope Benedict's XVI's 1st Public Greeting
"A Simple, Humble Worker in the Lord's Vineyard"

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 19, 2005 (Zenit.org).- German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, dean of the College of Cardinals, was elected Pope today, the second day of the conclave, and has taken the name Benedict XVI.

Here is a translation of his first greeting, which he gave from the balcony of the facade of St. Peter's Basilica.

* * *

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

After the great Pope, John Paul II, the Lord Cardinals have elected me, a simple, humble worker in the Lord's vineyard. I am consoled by the fact that the Lord is able to work and act with insufficient instruments and, above all, I rely on your prayers.

In the joy of the risen Lord, confident of his permanent help, let us go forward. The Lord will help us. Mary, his Most Holy Mother, is on our side. Thank you.

* * *

[Translation by ZENIT]

After prolonged applause, Pope Benedict XVI imparted the apostolic blessing "urbi et orbi" (to the city of Rome and the world), and took his leave of the faithful.


Pope Benedict XVI

Biographical Notes from www.vatican.va

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith , President of the Pontifical Biblical Commission and International Theological Commission, Dean of the College of Cardinals, was born on 16 April 1927 in Marktl am Inn, Germany. He was ordained a priest on 29 June 1951.

His father, a police officer, came from a traditional family of farmers from Lower Baviera. He spent his adolescent years in Traunstein, and was called into the auxiliary anti-aircraft service in the last months of World War II. From 1946 to 1951, the year in which he was ordained a priest and began to teach, he studied philosophy and theology at the University of Munich and at the higher school in Freising. In 1953 he obtained a doctorate in theology with a thesis entitled: "The People and House of God in St. Augustine’s doctrine of the Church". Four years later, he qualified as a university teacher. He then taught dogma and fundamental theology at the higher school of philosophy and theology of Freising, then in Bonn from 1959 to 1969, Münster from 1963 to 1966, Tubinga from 1966 to 1969. From 1969, he was a professor of dogmatic theology and of the history of dogma at the University of Regensburg and Vice President of the same university.

Already in 1962 he was well known when, at the age of 35, he became a consultor at Vatican Council II, of the Archbishop of Cologne, Cardinal Joseph Frings. Among his numerous publications, a particular post belongs to the ‘Introduction to Christianity’, a collection of university lessons on the profession of apostolic faith, published in 1968; Dogma and revelation, an anthology of essays, sermons and reflections dedicated to the pastoral ministry, published in 1973.

In March 1977, Paul VI elected him Archbishop of Munich and Freising and on 28 May 1977 he was consecrated, the first diocesan priest after 80 years to take over the pastoral ministry of this large Bavarian diocese.

Created and proclaimed Cardinal by Paul VI in the consistory of 27 June 1977, of the Titles of the Suburbicarian Church of Velletri-Segni (5 April 1993) and Suburbicarian Church of Ostia (30 November 2002).

On 25 November 1981 he was nominated by John Paul II Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; President of the Biblical Commission and of the Pontifical International Theological Commission.

Relator of the 5th General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (1980).

President Delegate to the 6th Synodal Assembly (1983).

Elected Vice Dean of the College of Cardinals, 6 November 1998. On 30 November 2002, the Holy Father approved the election, by the order of cardinal bishops, as Dean of the College of Cardinals.

President of the Commission for the Preparation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and after 6 years of work (1986-92) he presented the New Catechism to the Holy Father.

Laurea honoris causa in jurisprudence from the Libera Università Maria Santissima Assunta, 10 November 1999.

Honorary member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, 13 November 2000.

Curial Membership:

Secretariat of State (second section)

Oriental Churches, Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, Bishops, Evangelization of Peoples, Catholic Education (congregations)

Christian Unity (council)

Latin America, Ecclesia Dei (commissions)

Vatican, Apr. 19 (CWNews.com) - Upon his election to the pontificate, Cardinal
Joseph Ratzinger indicated that he wished to be known by the name: Pope Benedict

The new Pope's choice is clearly meant in homage to St. Benedict (480- 547), who
was named the patron saint of Europe by Pope Paul VI in 1964, for his prodigious
efforts to spread Christian culture throughout Europe by means of "the Cross,
the book, and the plough." The religious order founded in Italy by St.
Benedict-- the Benedictines-- spread quickly throughout the continent and had a
formative influence upon the culture of Christendom. The Rule of St. Benedict,
regulating the monks in a life that combined work and prayer, is among the
foundational documents of Western civilization.

The first Pope to take the name Benedict reigned from 575 to 579. The most
recent, Benedict XV, was born in Genoa as Giacomo della Chiesa in 1854, and died
in Rome in 1922. The successor to Pope Pius X, now a canonized saint, Pope
Benedict XV is remembered today primarily for having promulgated the first
complete <I> Code of Canon Law </I> in 1917; the code remained in force until it
was supplanted by the new <I> Code </I> approved by the late Pope John Paul II
in 1983. Pope Benedict XV was much less successful in his valiant but fruitless
efforts to promote a peaceful resolution of the conflicts that begot World War

In the history of the papacy, only John has been chosen more times (23) than
Benedict as the name by which a new Pope will be known. By taking that name, the
new Pontiff puts "Benedict" just ahead of "Gregory," since there have been 15
popes by the latter name.


Cardinal Ratzinger's Homily in Mass Before Conclave
Jesus Christ: "The Measure of True Humanism"

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 19, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the homily delivered Monday by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger during the Mass "for the election of the Roman Pontiff" in St. Peter's Basilica, before the conclave.

Cardinal Ratzinger was elected today as Pope, and chose the name Benedict XVI.

* * *

Isaiah 61:1-3a. 6a. 8b-9
Ephesians 4:11-16
John 15:9-17

At this hour of great responsibility, let us listen with particular attention to what the Lord says to us in his own words. I would like to choose only a passage of the three readings, which affects us directly in a moment such as this.

The first reading offers a prophetic portrait of the figure of the Messiah, a portrait that attains all its meaning at the moment when Jesus reads this text in the synagogue of Nazareth, when he says: "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing" (Luke 4:21). At the heart of this prophetic text, we find a phrase that, at least at first glance, seems contradictory. In speaking of himself, the Messiah says that he has been sent "to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor, on the day of vengeance of our God" (Isaiah 61:2).

We listen with joy to the proclamation of the year of mercy: Divine mercy puts a limit to evil, the Holy Father said to us. Jesus Christ is divine mercy in person: To find Christ means to find the mercy of God. Christ's mandate has become our mandate through priestly unction; we are called to promulgate not only with words but also with our life and with the effective signs of the sacraments "the year of the Lord's favor."

But what does Isaiah mean when he proclaims "the day of vengeance of our God"? When reading the prophetic text in Nazareth, Jesus did not pronounce these words; he concluded by proclaiming the year of favor. Was this, perhaps, the reason for the scandal that took place after his preaching? We do not know. In any case, the Lord gave his authentic commentary to these words with his death on the cross. "He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree," says St. Peter (1 Peter 2:24). And St. Paul writes to the Galatians: "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us -- for it is written, 'Cursed be every one who hangs on a tree' -- that in Christ Jesus the blessings of Abraham might come upon the gentiles, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith" (Galatians 3:13).

The mercy of Christ is not a cheap grace; it does not imply the trivialization of evil. Christ bore in his body and soul all the weight of evil, all its destructive force. The day of vengeance and the year of favor coincide in the paschal mystery, in Christ, dead and risen. This is the vengeance of God: He himself, in the person of the Son, suffered for us. The more we are touched by the mercy of the Lord, the more we are in solidarity with his suffering, the more disposed we are to complete in our flesh "what is lacking in Christ's afflictions" (Colossians 1:24).

Let us go on to the second reading, the letter of Paul to the Ephesians. It addresses essentially three arguments: in the first place, the ministries and charisms of the Church, as gifts of the risen Lord ascended to heaven; then maturity in faith and in knowledge of the Son of God, as condition and content of unity in the body of Christ; and, finally, the common participation in the growth of the Body of Christ, that is, the transformation of the world in communion with the Lord.

Let us reflect on two points. The first is the path to the "maturity of Christ," as it states, simplifying the text in Italian. More concretely, we would have to speak, according to the Greek text, of the "measure of the fullness of Christ," which we are called to attain to truly be adults in the faith. We should not remain as children in the faith, in the state of minors. And what does it mean to be children in the faith? St. Paul answers: It means to be "tossed to and from and carried about with every wind of doctrine" (Ephesians 4:14). A very timely description!

How many winds of doctrine we have known in these last decades, how many ideological currents, how many fashions of thought? The small boat of thought of many Christians has often remained agitated by the waves, tossed from one extreme to the other: from Marxism to liberalism, to libertinism; from collectivism to radical individualism; from atheism to a vague religious mysticism; from agnosticism to syncretism, etc.

Every day new sects are born and we see realized what St. Paul says on the deception of men, on the cunning that tends to lead into error (cf. Ephesians 4:14). To have a clear faith, according to the creed of the Church, is often labeled as fundamentalism. While relativism, that is, allowing oneself to be carried about with every wind of "doctrine," seems to be the only attitude that is fashionable. A dictatorship of relativism is being constituted that recognizes nothing as absolute and which only leaves the "I" and its whims as the ultimate measure.

We have another measure: the Son of God, true man. He is the measure of true humanism. "Adult" is not a faith that follows the waves in fashion and the latest novelty. Adult and mature is a faith profoundly rooted in friendship with Christ. This friendship opens us to all that is good and gives us the measure to discern between what is true and what is false, between deceit and truth.

We must mature in this adult faith; we must lead the flock of Christ to this faith. And this faith, the only faith, creates unity and takes place in charity. St. Paul offers us a beautiful phrase, in opposition to the continual ups and downs of those who are like children tossed by the waves, to bring about truth in charity, as fundamental formula of Christian existence. Truth and charity coincide in Christ. In the measure that we come close to Christ, also in our life, truth and charity are fused. Charity without truth would be blind; truth without charity would be like "a clanging cymbal" (1 Corinthians 13:1).

Let us now turn to the Gospel, from whose richness I would like to draw only two small observations. The Lord addresses these wonderful words to us: "No longer do I call you servants ... but I have called you friends" (John 15:15). Many times we simply feel like useless servants, and it is true (cf. Luke 17:10). And, despite this, the Lord calls us friends; he makes us his friends; he gives us his friendship. The Lord defines friendship in two ways. There are no secrets between friends: Christ tells us everything he hears from the Father; he gives us his full confidence and, with confidence, also knowledge. He reveals his face to us, his heart. He shows us his tenderness for us, his passionate love that goes to the folly of the cross.

He gives us his confidence; he gives us the power to speak with his I: "This is my body," and "I absolve you." He entrusts his body to us, the Church. He entrusts his truth to our weak minds, our weak hands, the mystery of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit; the mystery of the God who "so loved the world that he gave his only Son" (John 3:16). He has made us his friends and, we, how do we respond?

The second element with which Jesus defines friendship is the communion of wills. "Idem velle -- idem nolle," was also for Romans the definition of friendship. "You are my friends if you do what I command you" (John 15:14). Friendship with Christ coincides with what the third petition of the Our Father expresses: "Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven."

In the hour of Gethsemane, Jesus transformed our rebellious human will in a will conformed and united with the divine will. He suffered all the drama of our autonomy and, in carrying our will in God's hands, he gave us true freedom: "Nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will" (Matthew 26:39). In this communion of wills our redemption takes place: to be friends of Jesus, to become friends of God. The more we love Jesus, the more we know him, and the more our genuine freedom grows, as well as the joy of being redeemed. Thank you, Jesus, for your friendship!

The other element of the Gospel that I would like to mention is Jesus' discourse on bearing fruit: "I […] chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain" (John 15:16). Here the dynamism of the Christian's existence appears, of the apostle: "I appointed you to go." We must be animated by a "holy anxiety," the anxiety of taking the gift of faith, of friendship with Christ, to all. In truth, love, friendship with God, has been given to us so that it will also reach others.

We have received the faith to give it to others; we are priests to serve others. And we must bear fruit that abides. But, what abides? Money does not last. Buildings do not last, or books. After a certain time, more or less long, all this disappears. The only thing that abides eternally is the human soul -- man created by God for eternity.

The fruit that abides, therefore, is the one we have sown in human souls, love, knowledge; the gesture capable of touching the heart; the word that opens the soul to the joy of the Lord. So, let us go and ask the Lord to help us to bear fruit, a fruit that abides. Only thus is the earth transformed from a vale of tears into a garden of God.

Finally, let us return once more to Ephesians. The letter says, with the words of Psalm 68, that Christ, when "he ascended on high ... gave gifts to men" (Ephesians 4:8). The victorious distribute gifts. And these gifts are apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. Our ministry is a gift of Christ to men to build his body, the new world. Let us live our ministry in this way, as a gift of Christ to men! But, in this moment, let us ask our Lord insistently that, after the great gift of Pope John Paul II, he will again give us a pastor according to his heart, a pastor who will lead us to knowledge of Christ, to his love, to true joy.


[Translation by ZENIT]

Links to a few documents written by Cardinal Ratzinger



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