Happy birthday, Pope Emeritus Benedict! The great Catholic theologian and retired pontiff is celebrating his 90th birthday today in Vatican City where he resides. His birthday was on April 16, also Easter Sunday, but is being celebrated on the Monday following, in Bavarian tradition.
Pope Emeritus Benedict celebrates his birthday today in Vatican City, after turning 90 on April 16, Easter Sunday. The celebration is being held on Monday, in the Bavarian tradition.
According to all reports, he is doing well, but the party will be a small, private affair to avoid exhaustion. Close friends will visit, as well as his brother, Georg Ratzinger.
The birthday is a milestone for one of the greatest theologians in modern history. Pope Emeritus Benedict is widely known for his pontificate, which began in 2005 and ended with his historic resignation in 2013. However, he is also one of the most brilliant and prolific theological minds of the 20th century. He has written and published extensively throughout his life.
In 1981, he was made the Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the arm of the Church responsible for defending Church doctrine. He became a cardinal 1993 and was elected pope in 2005 following the passing of his friend and colleague, Pope John Paul II.
As Pope Benedict XVI, he favored a traditional style and was popularly known for his regal appearance. But this was a distraction from his real work in strengthening the Church while also combating the dangers of relativism and consumerism, modern movements that undermine people and their faith around the world.
He published an apostolic exhortation and made the traditional Latin Mass easier to celebrate.
By 2012, his health and rumors of homosexual clergy in the Vatican began to take their toll on the aging pontiff. Special accommodations were made to enable him to celebrate Mass, but the tabloid media was merciless in their critique of his work.
In February 2013, Pope Benedict XVI retired from the papacy, becoming the first pope in 600 years to do so. He was replaced by Pope Francis.
Pope Francis soon announced that Pope Benedict XVI would retain the title of Pope, as Pope Emeritus Benedict. He has since spent his retirement in a monastery at the Vatican, praying, studying and writing, and enjoying music.
We are grateful to Pope Emeritus Benedict for a long life of fruitful service to the Church, and we pray he enjoys many more years of happy retirement.
By Marshall Connolly