Joseph Ratzinger (aka Pope Benedict XVI) was born on April 16, 1927 in Marktl am Inn, Germany. In 1939 ,Ratzinger entered the minor seminary in Traunstein. In 1944, he was drafted into the compulsory German army. By the Spring of 1945, Joseph deserted the army and headed back home to Traunstein. In November of the same year he re-entered seminary. Two years later Ratzinger entered the theological institute, Herzogliches Georgianum, which is associated with the University of Munich. On the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, June 29 of 1951, Joseph (along with his brother George) was ordained into the preisthood. Two years later he received his doctorate in theology from the University of Munich. In 1959 he took a chair of fundamental theology at the University of Bonn. For the next three years, Ratzinger established himself as one of Germany's leading theologians. He became so respected, that he was asked to be the chief theological advisor to Cardinal Josef Frings of Cologne, Germany at the Second Vatican Council. In 1957 Ratzinger met liberal theologian Hans Küng at a congress of dogmatic theologians in Innsbruck. Ratzinger and Küng soon became friends. In 1966, Ratzinger took a second chair in dogmatic theology at the University of Tübingen. His appointment was vigorously supported and secured by fellow professor Küng. Later on, Ratzinger would distance himself from Küng's theology and even had him inhibited from teaching Catholic theology when Ratzinger was the Prefect for the Congregation fordoctrineorine of the Faith. On March 24 1977, Ratzinger was named Archbishop of Munich and Freising. In only one month later, he was elevated to Cardinal of Munich by Pope Paul VI. In 1981, Pope John Paul II named Cardinal Ratzinger the Prefect for the Congregation fordoctrineorine of the Faith. In this position he tirelessly defended the faith. He did his job so well, that he earned the nickname "God's Rottweiler." As a theologian, he has written numerous books. My favorite's include The Spirit of the Liturgy, God and the World, and Introduction to Christianity (all published by Ignatius Press). On April 19 2005, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger was elected to the See of Rome, becoming Pope Benedict XVI.
As an Anglican, it may seem a bit odd that Ratzinger would not only be the first "Person of the Day" for my blog and one of my hero's, but when you look at all that he has done in his life to the glory of God, it is easily understood. He has become one of the greatest and most well respected theologians of our time. It is no wonder that he is now a successor to Peter.
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
Person Of The Day: Joseph Ratzinger