A Modern Pope's Biography: Benedict Embraces Message of Unity, Dialogue and Reconciliation Thru High Tech
A curious mind indeed. Cardinal Ratzinger who becomes Pope Benedict XVI is a brilliant theologian and teacher, a great defender of the Catholic doctrine. In his position of chief enforcer of the faith, he did not mince words. He was the second most important person in the Catholic church.
Having spent 26 years in Vatican serving his predecessor, John Paul II, he saw first hand the powers of reconciliation and communication with other faiths, followers and churches. No wonder that his first papal Mass, he made mention of these points as hi main objectives. He is ready to open a dialogue.
What do we know about his health? Is he as athletic and robust as John Paul II was?
Benedict XVI is a walker. He likes to stroll unrecognized among the streets of Rome. Walking allows him to think on his feet. He is calling on his 1.1 billion followers to walk and be fit. Jesus walked with his disciples. Hey, walking is a great form of exercise.
According to Vatican sources, Benedict has no history of chronic health problems. It's been noted that the 78-year old German was hospitalized twice sinche the 1990s. In 1991, he suffered a cerebral hemorrhage. His left field of vision was affected for a short time. In 1992, he fell and sustained cuts on his head.
According to the Cardinals who selected him, Benedict XVI is a great listener. A sympathetic listener. He also has a great memory and is fluent in many languages. Communication comes easily to him.
What's his philosophy? How about his Theology?
Many have said that even in his young years, he was a wunderkind theologian. In Rome, he impressed so much his fellow German-speaking, older priests that he returned home a star. That's also where he met Karol Wojtyla who would later become Pope John Paul II. From his teaching days at various German universities to his theological position in Vatican, Cardinal Ratzinger or Benedict XVI has always led a high professional life.
Who is the man? Who is Ratzinger? How did he grow up?
He was born in a little Bavarian town named Marktl Am Inn. He grew up mostly in Hitler's times. This explains why he was forced to join Hitler Youth movement. He deserted his unit and was briefly a prisoner of war in a US camp. From a very young age, he showed his interest in the affairs of the church. His older brother Georg and he started attending a seminary, but WWI prevented them. After the war, they could resume their seminary training. Those who know him personally will tell you that he is not a huge extrovert, the heart of the party. He is rather serene but confident.
What does Benedict Mean?
It comes from Latin Benedicto and means, "Blessed by God." He often quoted St Benedict who lived at the end of the Roman era. He tried to broker a peace treaty in World War I. No wonder that Benedict wants to be seen as a pope promoting peace and good relations.
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