A New Era for the Roman Catholic Church: The Inauguration of His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI

Article excerpt

THE Roman Catholic Church enters into a new era today with the inauguration of His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI. As spiritual leader of a 2,000-year-old faith, the new Pope faces a heavy burden to strengthen a church driven by turmoil in an increasingly secular age.

As the 265th pontiff in the Churchs history, the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger smiled and waved to acknowledge the applause from the curtain-draped balcony of Saint Peters Basilica on his first appearance. In his first statement, Pope Benedict XVI expressed with all humility and simplicity the following words "Dear brothers and sisters, after the great Pope John Paul II, the cardinals have elected me, a simple, humble laborer in the vineyard of the Lord Let us go forward. The Lord will help us, and Mary, His most holy Mother, is on our side."

Born on April 16, 1927, in Marktl am Inn, Germany, Pope Benedict XVI was ordained a priest on June 29, 1951. His father, a police officer, came from a traditional family of farmers in Lower Baviera. He spent his adoloscent years in Traunstein, and was called into the auxiliary anti-aircraft service in the last months of World War II. From 1946 to 1951, the year in which he was ordained a priest and began to teach, he studied philosophy and theology at the University of Munich and at the higher school in Freising. In 1953, he obtained a doctorate in theology with a thesis entitled: "The People and House of God in St. Augustines Doctrine of the Church." Four years later, he qualified as a university teacher. He then taught dogma and fundamental theology at the higher school of philosophy and theology of Freising, then in Bonn from 1959 to 1969, Munster from 1963 to 1966, and Tubinga from 1966 to 1969. From 1969, he was a professor of dogmatic theology and of the history of dogma at the University of Regensburg and Vice President of the same university. …