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Biography: Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI

Short Summary of the Life of Pope Benedict XVI

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Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI

Wikipedia

Here is a chronological summary of the life of Josef Ratzinger, now elected Pope Benedict XVI. This timeline of Josef Ratzinger’s life focuses on events that were important to this religious life — his ordination, his elevation to archbishop, and his election to pope.

1927
Josef Ratzinger is born on April 16, Holy Saturday, and is baptized that day. His father is a rural policeman.

1939
Josef Ratzinger enrolls in the seminary in Traunstein.

1941
Josef Ratzinger joins the Hitler Youth, as is required of all German youth when they reach the age of 14.

1943
Josef Ratzinger and his seminary class are drafted into an anti-aircraft unit of the German army. He would be released the next year and then drafted into the Austrian Legion, an infamous group that brutalized others.

1945
In the Spring, Josef Ratzinger deserts the military and goes home to Traunstein.

1947
Josef Ratzinger enrolls in the Herzogliches Georgianum, a theological school in Munich.

1951
Josef Ratzinger is ordained into the priesthood on June 29.

1953
In July, Josef Ratzinger is awarded a doctorate in theology by the University of Munich.

1959
On August 23, Josef Ratzinger's father dies.

1962 - 1965
Josef Ratzinger participates in all four sessions of the Second Vatican Council as chief theological advisor to Cardinal Josef Frings of Cologne, Germany.

1963
On December 16, Josef Ratzinger's mother dies.

1966
Josef Ratzinger becomes chair of dogmatic theology at the University of Tübingen, a position supported by his friend professor Hans Küng.

1968
European campuses are swept up in a series of student uprisings driven in large part by Marxist ideologies. The wholesale rejection of traditional religion outrages Josef Ratzinger, turning him away from his earlier liberalism and causing him to embrace more orthodox Catholicism. The next year he would return to Bavaria to teach at the University of Regensburg.

1977
On March 24, Josef Ratzinger becomes Archbishop of Munich and Freising. He would be ordained May 28.

1977
On June 27, Josef Ratzinger is made Cardinal of Munich by Pope Paul VI.

1981
On November 25, Josef Ratzinger is named by Pope John Paul II as Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

1993
Pope John Paul II names Josef Ratzinger a Cardinal Bishop of the episcopal see of Velletri-Segni.

1998
Josef Ratzinger is named vice-dean of the College of Cardinals.

2002
In November, Josef Ratzinger is elected dean of the College of Cardinals. This means that he is now also Cardinal Bishop of Ostia.

2005
On April 19, Josef Ratzinger is elected pope and adopts the name Pope Benedict XVI, evidently in honor of St. Benedict, founder of western monasticism, and Pope Benedict XV, leader of the Catholic church during World War I.

On April 24, Benedict XVI is formally inaugurated as pope.

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