Vatican Changing of the Guard
Benedict XVI's surprise announcement.
by Stephen Lendman
In April 2005, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected Pope Benedict XVI. At the time he said:
"Dear brothers and sisters. After the great Pope John Paul II, the Cardinals have elected me, a simple and humble worker in the vineyard of the lord."
He hid his dark past. More on that below.
On February 11, he announced he'll step down. He's the first pope to do so since Gregory XII in 1415. Vatican spokesman, Federico Lombardi, said he "took us by surprise."
He's 85. His energy and health deteriorated. It did so "to the extent that (he) had to recognize (his) incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to (him)," he said.
"For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom (he) declare(d) that (he'll) renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter."
At 7PM on February 28, it's official. His office will remain open until a successor is chosen.
He was born on April 16, 1927 in Bavaria. It was six years before Hitler took power. At age 14, he joined his youth movement. Doing so influenced his authoritarian character.
Post-WW II, he studied theology and philosophy. In 1951, he was appointed to the priesthood. In 1953, he earned a doctor of theology.
In 1957, he qualified as a University of Munich theology lecturer. He taught Church dogma until 1981. He rose in its hierarchy.
From 1962 - 1965, he participated in the Second Vatican Council. He served as council theologian. In 1977, he was appointed Munich archbishop and Freising.
Three months later, he was named cardinal. In 1981, John Paul II asked him to become supreme guardian of the faith in Rome.