Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Happy 85th Birthday, Pope Benedict XVI

“I find myself on the last stretch of my journey in life, and I don’t know what is awaiting me.”

“I know, however, that the light of God exists, that he is risen, that his light is stronger than any darkness and that God’s goodness is stronger than any evil in this world, and this helps me go forward with certainty,” he said.

Pope Benedict XVI, remarking on his 85th birthday. (Source: Catholic Herald UK).

Children dressed in traditional Bavarian costumes dance for Pope Benedict XVI during the Pontiff's 85th birthday celebrations in the Clementine Hall at the Vatican April 16, 2012. Source: Reuters

Additional Coverage

  • - Edward Pentin reports on the papal celebrations as well as a new book on the Holy Father (National Catholic Register April 15, 2012):
    His birthday will be "a normal working day, he never interrupts his daily routine, but it will be a very Bavarian day," said Monsignor Georg Gaenswein, Pope Benedict's private secretary, in an interview with Gente, a weekly magazine.

    The Pope, who is now the sixth-oldest pontiff in history, returned to the Vatican April 13 after five days of rest at his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo. . . .

    The Holy Father, who has shown increasing frailty and exhaustion in recent weeks, nevertheless remains in relatively good health and appears to have no serious medical ailments apart from arthrosis and pain in his right hip.

    His 88-year-old brother, Msgr. Georg Ratzinger, told a German news agency April 12 that his wish for his younger sibling on his birthday was that he “still finds enough strength to fulfill his service for the blessing of the Church” and that he “continues to stay in good health.”


    Twenty leading Germans from the fields of politics, culture, the economy and sport have shared their opinions on the Pope in a new book,Benedikt XVI: Prominente über den Papst (Benedict XVI: Prominent Figures on the Pope). Contributors include the former Bavarian Prime Minister Edmund Stoiber, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, former German soccer star Franz Beckenbauer and alpine skier Maria Höfl-Riesch. The opinions of prominent cardinals and evangelical Christians are also included. The book was presented to the Pope on Monday.

  • Bavarian band, dancers celebrate pope's birthday in apostolic palace, by Carol Glatz. Catholic News Service. April 16, 2012:
    Pope Benedict XVI celebrated his 85th birthday with guests who treated him to Bavarian "oompah" music and folk dancing in the apostolic palace.

    Bavarian bishops, minister-president of Bavaria -- Horst Seehofer, and a 150-person regional government delegation visited the pope April 16 in the Vatican's Clementine Hall.

    They were accompanied by a small Bavarian band, three female singers and 10 children who danced the skirt-swirling, shoe-stomping, thigh-slapping "Schuhplattler" before the pope.

  • “The Pope’s birthday will be a family celebration” (La Stampa's "The Vatican Insider"):
    On 16 April the Pope will celebrate his 85th birthday and three days later, on 19 April, he will begin his eighth year as Peter’s successor.

    “16 April is a Monday, a normal working day and he never interrupts his daily routine. It will however be a very Bavarian day,” Mgr. Gaenswein added. ...

    Fr. Georg also revealed a few little secrets about life with the Pope, a fellow countryman: “He is a Pope who reflects on the meaning of his words. His simplicity, sincerity and courage have often been misunderstood. Perhaps because he is not afraid to call a mistake by its name. But he has always shown sensitivity and respect in his day-to-day relations with others. Including me. He has never said to me: “That’s not right: you are wrong.” Instead he says: “This could be done like this or like that.” Though the essence of these criticisms is serious, they are expressed in a delicate and seraphic manner.”

  • A Rare Pope: With a Sense of Humor, by Andrea Monda. (Chiesa, April 16, 2012):
    I have not made a careful check, but I am willing to bet that if one were to analyze word frequency in the texts of Benedict XVI, the word used most often would be "joy."