April 16 marks the Supreme Pontiff Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s birthday, who is now 93 years old. Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger was born in Marktl am Inn, in the ancient diocese of Passau (Germany), on April 16, 1927.
Being Pope of the Roman Catholic Church from April 19, 2005 to February 28, 2013, he officially announced his resignation. His decision was centered on his old age, and his strengths, which were no longer suited to an adequate exercise. Since his resignation, he has been Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Rome.
Prior to his election as Pope, he led a distinguished career in the Church as a theologian during the Vatican Council II; as archbishop of Munich and Freising; as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; as president of the Pontifical Biblical Commission; as president of the Pontifical International Theological Commission; and as dean of the College of Cardinals.
He has written several books and has received Doctorates “Honoris Causa” in 10 universities. As Pope, he wrote two Apostolic Letters and two Apostolic Exhortations, plus dozens of Papal Messages and “Motu Proprios”.
Furthermore, he is the author of three encyclicals: Deus Caritas Est (God is love); Spe salvi (Saved in hope); and Caritas in Veritate (Love really). The latter is a theological masterpiece on the gratuitousness and purity of charity practiced in the Church, and should be a must-read for all Vincentians. Vincent de Paul and Saint Louise de Marillac are cited therein.
Since his resignation, Joseph Ratzinger moved into the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery (Vatican) for his retirement, where he devotes himself to reading and prayer. SSVP members around the world wish a “happy birthday” with good health to dear Pope Benedict XVI. We are all grateful for his pontificate.
Click below to read Benedict XVI’s encyclicals in 15 languages: