Benedict XVI.

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Pope Benedict XVI (2007)
Pope Benedict XVI Signature.svg

Benedict XVI. ( Latin Benedictus PP . XVI ; born April 16, 1927 in Marktl as Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger ) is Pope emeritus (Latin Papa emeritus ). From April 19, 2005 until his resignation on February 28, 2013, he was head of the Roman Catholic Church and thus of the State of Vatican City . He was the first German pope since Hadrian VI. (1523) and after Celestine V (1294) the second Pope in history to voluntarily resign from his office. Joseph Ratzinger is considered an important theologian of the 20th century.

Before his election as Pope, Joseph Ratzinger was most recently Dean of the College of Cardinals (since 2002) and Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (since 1982). He was considered one of the most influential cardinals and in theological and ecclesiastical issues as the right hand of his predecessor John Paul II. In the conclave on April 18 and 19, 2005 he was elected the 265th Pope.

Youth and Studies

Joseph Ratzinger's childhood home in Hufschlag

Joseph Ratzinger was born on Holy Saturday in 1927 as the son of the gendarmerie master Joseph (* March 6, 1877, † August 25, 1959) and the cook Maria, b. Peintner (* January 8, 1884; † December 16, 1963), born and baptized on the same day in the parish church of St. Oswald in Marktl. He had two siblings, Maria Ratzinger (* December 7, 1921; † November 2, 1991) and the church musician Georg Ratzinger (* January 15, 1924; † July 1, 2020). His great uncle was the priest , member of the Landtag and Reichstag and writer Georg Ratzinger (1844–1899).

Due to his father's transfers, the family moved to Tittmoning an der Salzach in July 1929 and to Aschau am Inn in December 1932 , where Joseph spent his primary school years. After their father's retirement , they lived in Hufschlag near Traunstein from April 1937 . According to Ratzinger, this was the real home of the family, as the father had to be professionally flexible during his entire service as a gendarme . As a child, Joseph Ratzinger became an altar boy . Despite the financial burden, after his brother Georg, the parents sent Joseph Ratzinger to the Archbishop's study seminar St. Michael in Traunstein, which he entered on April 16, 1939. He attended the state high school in Chiemgau, where he stood out for his special achievements in humanities subjects.

In accordance with the mandatory youth service required by law on March 25, 1939 , Joseph Ratzinger was forcibly accepted into the Hitler Youth in 1941 at the age of 14 . At the age of 16 he was sent to Munich on August 2, 1943, together with the other seminarians from Traunstein, as an air force helper, first to an anti-aircraft battery in Unterföhring , then to protect the BMW factory in Allach in Ludwigsfeld in the north of Munich . His battery was later moved to Gilching , where he only had to work in the telephone exchange and survived a direct attack on the battery in 1944. During this time Ratzinger attended the Maximiliansgymnasium in Munich. When asked by a superior about his career goal, he already stated the priesthood . After two months of imperial labor service in the Austrian Burgenland , where he was used, among other things, to build the so-called south wall for the construction of anti-tank barriers , Ratzinger was drafted into the Wehrmacht on December 13, 1944 . He performed his basic training in the Traunstein infantry barracks. After Hitler's death, Ratzinger left the barracks at the beginning of May 1945 and returned to Hufschlag. For a short time he was taken prisoner in the United States , in camp PWTE 314 in Neu-Ulm , from which he was released on June 19, 1945. Then he visited the grammar school in Traunstein again and passed the matriculation examination.

From 1946 to 1951 Ratzinger studied Catholic theology and philosophy , first at the Philosophical-Theological University of Freising and from September 1, 1947 at the newly opened university in Munich. He was then a seminarist at the Ducal Georgianum of the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich . In Freising he joined the Catholic student union K.St.V. Lichtenstein-Hohenheim to Freising-Weihenstephan in the KV .

According to his own information, the student , who was looking to turn away from the dominance of Neo-Kantianism, was influenced in particular by works by Gertrud von le Fort , Ernst Wiechert , Fjodor Dostojewski , Elisabeth Langgässer , Theodor Steinbüchel , Martin Heidegger and Karl Jaspers . He described Steinbüchel's Der Upholstery of Thought as a key reading . At the end of his studies he was more drawn to the energetic Augustine , one of the older church fathers , than to Thomas Aquinas ; among the scholastics he was interested in St. John Bonaventure . Ratzinger named Gottlieb Söhngen as particularly influential professors in Munich , alongside Richard Egenter , Friedrich Wilhelm Maier , Friedrich Stummer , Joseph Pascher and Franz Xaver Seppelt .

Congregational work and academic career

The minor orders (Ostiariat, proofreading , and Exorzistat Akolythat ) received Ratzinger on 8 and 9 May 1948 in the Church of Transfiguration in Schloss Fürstenried by Cardinal Michael von Faulhaber . Auxiliary Bishop Johannes Neuhäusler consecrated him on October 28 and 29, 1950 in Freising Cathedral as a subdeacon and deacon . It was there that Ratzinger and his brother Georg were ordained priests on June 29, 1951 by Cardinal Faulhaber . Together the two celebrated their primacy on July 8, 1951 in the parish church of St. Oswald in Traunstein and their post- primacy on July 30, 1951 in Rimsting , their mother's hometown. From August 1951, Joseph Ratzinger worked as a chaplain in the parish of St. Martin in the Munich district of Moosach (until September 1951 as a disease representative for pastor Joseph Knogler), then for a year in the parish of Heilig Blut in the district of Bogenhausen . In the local Gebeleschule he taught Catholic religious studies in the school year 1951/1952. On October 1, 1952, he was appointed lecturer at the Freising seminary.

In July 1953 Ratzinger became the doctor of theology doctorate . His dissertation People and House of God in Augustine's Doctrine of the Church received the grade summa cum laude . In 1957 he qualified as a professor at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich against the resistance of the dogmatist Michael Schmaus, who was highly respected there, under Gottlieb Söhngen in the subject of fundamental theology with the text Die Geschichtstheologie des St. Bonaventure . Ratzinger had to revise the script on Schmaus' intervention. The parts of the habilitation thesis objected to by Schmaus and not submitted again in 1957 were only published in 2009. He gave his habilitation lecture on the subject of the unity between fundamental theological and dogmatic view of the church on February 21, 1957.

In 1958 the then 31-year-old took up a professorship for dogmatics and fundamental theology at the Philosophical-Theological University of Freising (the chairs of the university were transferred to the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich after it was closed ). In 1959 he was appointed to the chair of fundamental theology at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn . He gave his inaugural lecture on June 24, 1959 on the subject of The God of Faith and the God of Philosophers . After a short stay in the theological convict Collegium Albertinum , he lived in Bad Godesberg during his time in Bonn ; his sister Maria ran the household for him. He held the chair in Bonn until he accepted the call to the seminar for dogmatics and dogma history of the Catholic theological faculty at the Westphalian Wilhelms University in Münster for the next three years . He held his inaugural lecture Revelation and Tradition on June 27, 1963 in a crowded lecture hall in the Fürstenberghaus on Domplatz .

Joseph Ratzinger was a member of the Ecumenical Working Group of Protestant and Catholic Theologians . From 1964 he was its full member, from his appointment as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 1981 only a corresponding member. Membership ended when he was elected Pope (2005).

In 1966, on the recommendation of Hans Küng , Ratzinger was given a chair for Catholic dogmatics at the Catholic-Theological Faculty of the Eberhard Karls University in Tübingen . He held his inaugural lecture there on January 19, 1967. His book Introduction to Christianity , published in 1968, emerged from lectures from this period for the students of all faculties . Immediately affected by the student protests of the late 1960s, he accepted the call to the University of Regensburg in 1969 . There he taught dogmatics and the history of dogma and founded the Gustav Siewerth Academy together with Alma von Stockhausen . In 1976 he became vice-president of the university and papal honorary prelate . From 1970 he lived in his own house in Pentling near Regensburg until he was appointed Archbishop of Munich in 1977 . He kept the house; it remained its registered address in Germany even after his election as Pope in 2005 . Since his appointment as archbishop he has been an honorary professor in Regensburg.

Ratzinger, who dealt extensively with eschatology and here with the writings of church writers like Origen , whom he repeatedly quotes in his works, was increasingly perceived by the public as a theologian who, with great personal modesty, persistently pursues the goal of bringing the Christian message forward To preserve arbitrariness and endangerment of the faith. This and his outstanding theological talent are cited as the reasons for his later appointment as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith .

Benedict XVI. speaks several languages ​​( German , Italian , French , Latin , English and Spanish ) and also reads ancient Greek and Hebrew .

Joseph Ratzinger did not found any theological school. After the end of his university career, also as Pope Benedict XVI., He met regularly with his students, who formed the Joseph Ratzinger student group.

Second Vatican Council

A speech written by Ratzinger, which the Archbishop of Cologne Cardinal Frings held in Genoa in the preparatory phase for the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965) in 1961 , was directed against the neo-scholastic solidification of Rome and against abuses in the Holy Office . John XXIII Praised Frings - contrary to expectations and in private - for this speech. This encouraged Frings, who was a member of the ten-person Council Presidium, to use Ratzinger as his advisor and speechwriter during the Vatican. A lecture by Ratzinger, given the evening before the beginning of the council, on the De fontibus revelationis scheme presented by the preparatory council commission , contributed to the fact that this scheme was rejected and that the Constitution Dei verbum was finally drawn up. Ratzinger participated in the commission for drafting the constitution. In 1963 he was appointed by Pope Paul VI. appointed council theologian (peritus). In particular with regard to the appointment of commissions or the text of the curia on the revelation, he took a reform- oriented view.

Together with Walter Kasper , Karl Lehmann , Karl Rahner and others, he pleaded in February 1970 with the memorandum on the celibacy discussion for a thorough review and more differentiated consideration of the celibacy law of the Latin Church.

Archbishop of Munich and Freising

Ratzinger with the theologian Wolfgang Nastainczyk (1977)

On March 25, 1977 Pope Paul VI appointed Joseph Ratzinger as Archbishop of Munich and Freising . He received the episcopal ordination on May 28, 1977 by the Bishop of Würzburg , Josef Stangl , in the Munich Cathedral to Our Lady ; Co- consecrators were the bishop of Regensburg , Rudolf Graber , and the auxiliary bishop in Munich and Freising, Ernst Tewes . Ratzinger's motto as Bishop Cooperatores veritatis ("(The) co-workers of truth") comes from the 3rd letter of John ( 3 JnEU ). Just one month later, on June 27, 1977, he was accepted into the College of Cardinals as a cardinal priest with the titular church of Santa Maria Consolatrice al Tiburtino . As a newly appointed cardinal , he received the Polish episcopate in Munich, including Karol Wojtyła, later Pope John Paul II , and took part in both conclaves in 1978.

In most biographical views of Joseph Ratzinger, the time as archbishop only takes a small place because of its brevity. The public eye came to Joseph Ratzinger's term of office as Archbishop of Munich and Freising in March 2010, when it became known that a priest had been transferred from Essen to Munich in 1980 who was suspected of sexual abuse there. At the request of the Diocese of Essen, the priest was accepted as a chaplain in the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising in January 1980 . He should go to Munich for therapy. The Archdiocese of Munich and Freising stated in a statement on March 12, 2010: “Based on the files, the ordinariate's working group must assume that it was known at the time that he was supposed to be doing this therapy because of sexual relationships with boys. In 1980 it was decided to give him accommodation in a rectory so that he could take part in therapy. The archbishop at the time also made this decision. ”In the 1980s, pedophilia was generally considered to be treatable. After extensive investigations by the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising, it was found that the vicar general at the time , as the archdiocese's personnel officer, had deviating from this decision, however, “unreservedly instructed the priest to provide pastoral care in a Munich parish”. The archdiocese's declaration goes on to say: “The repeated engagement [of the priest] in parish pastoral care was a serious mistake. [The then Vicar General Gruber] takes full responsibility for the wrong decisions ”. The priest's psychiatrist had warned the archdiocese not to use the clergy in child and youth work, but only in writing in 1985. An involvement of the archbishop at the time in this personnel decision, which has been discussed occasionally, must be denied: “It was his subordinates who believed they were would have [the priest] under control, the auxiliary bishop, the vicar general. "

Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith


Cardinal coat of arms of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
Joseph Ratzinger as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 1988
Cardinal Dean Ratzinger presides over the funeral ceremonies for Pope John Paul II on April 8, 2005.

Right at the beginning of his pontificate, Pope John Paul II intended to appoint Cardinal Ratzinger Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Ratzinger asked for time to think about it for a year and a half as Archbishop of Munich. He said yes three years later when John Paul II repeated his vocation emphatically: “But now I absolutely have to have you.” At the same time, Pope John Paul II assured him that he could continue to publish personal writings. Cardinal Ratzinger was then appointed Prefect on November 25, 1981 by Pope John Paul II . On February 15, 1982, he resigned as archbishop. Start of service in Rome was March 1, 1982 with a staff of 40 employees. When he started working in the service of the Holy See, he received the Vatican citizenship , which is function-related and is usually limited to the duration of the function in the Vatican. The Federal Republic of Germany also usually allows this dual citizenship. The German government said after Ratzinger's election as pope to a written question that no feature vorliege for the loss of German citizenship. The government of the Upper Palatinate also stated in a press release that Benedict XVI. continue to be a German citizen. This was critically discussed in legal theory.

As prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the cardinal stood up for priestly celibacy , against certain aspects of liberation theology , against the legal recognition of same-sex relationships and for the topicality of the Catholic sexual doctrine defined in Humanae vitae . From the point of view of his critics, he was also against pluralistic approaches in the church and demands for decentralization of the church. As prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Ratzinger ordered the opening of the previously top secret archives of the Inquisition and the Congregation Index in January 1998 .

The extensive tasks of the Roman universal church caused Ratzinger himself to repeatedly ask the Pope for his dismissal so that he could devote himself to writing in his Bavarian residence in Pentling near Regensburg . On his 75th birthday in 2002, he wanted to apply for resignation, which is traditionally submitted when this age is reached. Pope John Paul II said to him beforehand: “You don't even need to write the letter, because I want you to the end.” The Pope refused his resignation, and so Ratzinger continued his service as Curia Cardinal until he was elected Pope away.

Positions and attitudes

Ratzinger's stance on ecumenical issues was valued differently during his time as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. In 1999 he was hailed as the “engine of ecumenism” because of his decisive contribution to the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification . After the publication of the papal teaching letter Dominus Iesus , in which Ratzinger was in charge, many proponents of closer ecumenical interreligious dialogue feared damage to the relationship between the Catholic Church and Protestantism . The examples show that Ratzinger advocates ecumenical dialogue, but for him this cannot mean that the Catholic Church ignores, changes or gives up its own belief profiles, convictions and self-understanding. In 2003, as a result of the Ecumenical Church Congress in Berlin, a conflict broke out between Cardinals Meisner, Ratzinger and Lehmann. In the interreligious dialogue, mention should be made of his participation in the 2002 World Prayer Meeting in Assisi , which he described as an “important sign for peace”. However, this can only be convincing if the religions make peace among themselves.

Ratzinger played a major role in the catechism of the Catholic Church , in the third part of which, among other things, sexual morality is specified in the beliefs and doctrinal rules of the Catholic Church. Critics criticize these stipulations because there are no justifications for these sections or they are tautological , especially where they - sometimes very far - go beyond those of the Ten Commandments . The Catholic Church rejects this objection on the grounds that the Church has the right to interpret the Bible in a binding manner. As Pope, on June 28, 2005, he presented a compendium of Catholic doctrine, a short version of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, to the public. As prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, he also played a key role in its completion. Joseph Ratzinger criticized certain forms of liberation theology and saw them as incompatible with Catholic doctrine if they denied fundamental beliefs, allowed themselves to be politically instrumentalized, advocated Marxist demands or propagated the violent implementation of their concerns. This led to pronounced conflicts and the like. a. with Leonardo Boff and Gustavo Gutiérrez .

Ratzinger received criticism from homosexual associations for his negative attitude towards the legal recognition of partnerships between homosexual persons. These state recognitions were in many western states, among others in Catholic countries such as France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Luxembourg or Canada (Quebec), z. In part introduced during his time as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. In the document, he describes considerations relating to the draft legal recognition of unions between homosexual persons from 2003, this recognition as "a disturbing moral and social phenomenon, even in those countries where it is ignored in the legal system".

Ratzinger had a decisive influence on the line of his predecessor John Paul II in questions of abortion and euthanasia . In Germany , Ratzinger pushed for the exit from the state system of pregnancy conflict counseling, as he saw participation as a form of participation in abortions and this contradicted Pope John Paul II's attitude to protect all human life that, according to Catholic teaching, already began with the Procreation begins. The exit happened against the majority opinion of the German bishops, who were convinced that pregnancy counseling made an important contribution to the protection of unborn life. During the American presidential election campaign in 2004, Ratzinger wrote to the US bishops recommending that politicians who consistently advocate very permissive abortion and euthanasia laws in their election campaigns and voting behavior should be refused communion; the Catholic and Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry stood for such legislation.

In the opinion of Cardinal Christoph Schönborn , Ratzinger, as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, took decisive action against sexual abuse. On his initiative, a separate court was set up at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 2001 to convict abusers. The tightening of the implementing provisions on the corresponding church norms goes back to him. These regulations became legally effective through the Motu Proprio Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela (April 30, 2001) by John Paul II and the letter De delictis gravioribus (May 18, 2001) by Ratzinger. In the opinion of Peter Seewald , Ratzinger thus created the “decisive prerequisites for the fight against abuse”. Seewald's opinion was shared by the Roman Catholic child protection officer and expert, the Jesuit Hans Zollner , when he stated in an interview that Ratzinger consistently tackled both the problem of sexual abuse and the conviction of the perpetrators. Zollner thus defended the Pope emeritus in November 2019.

Duties in the college of cardinals

On April 5, 1993, Pope John Paul II appointed him Cardinal Bishop of the suburbicarian diocese of Velletri-Segni . From 1998 Cardinal Ratzinger was Subdean of the College of Cardinals ; In 2002 he was elected Cardinal Dean and confirmed in this office by John Paul II. At the same time he was appointed Cardinal Bishop of Ostia . On April 8, 2005, Ratzinger, as Cardinal Dean, led the funeral ceremonies for Pope John Paul II in Rome. In addition, in this position it fell to him to lead the daily General Congregation during the Sedis vacancy and to preside over the conclave from April 18-19, 2005, from which he himself emerged as Pope .



Benedict XVI. (2006)
Benedict XVI. after the inauguration service in the Popemobile
The Pope in the summer residence Castel Gandolfo , August 2009
Home visit 2006 , Munich
Benedict XVI. as head of state on the Vatican € 2 coin

After Pope John Paul II's health deteriorated in January 2005, Ratzinger was repeatedly mentioned in the press as his possible successor. He was given great opportunities as a transitional pope after the previous long pontificate. As one of the most influential cardinals, he was also known as a "pope maker".

The conclave , in which 115 cardinals participated, began on April 18, 2005. On the afternoon of April 19, the election fell on Joseph Ratzinger in the fourth ballot. He gave himself the Pope name Benedict XVI. in memory of the founder of the order Benedict of Nursia , Patron of Europe, but also of Benedict XV. (Pontificate September 1914 - January 1922), who was referred to as the "Pope of Peace" because he was very committed to peace in the First World War .

After the announcement of the election by Cardinal Protodeacon Jorge Arturo Medina Estévez , Benedict XVI. on the Benediction loggia of St. Peter's Basilica and addressed the waiting world public:

“Dear sisters and brothers! After a great Pope John Paul II, the Cardinals chose me, a simple and humble worker in the Lord's vineyard. I am comforted by the fact that the Lord knows how to work and how to act with insufficient tools. Above all, I confide in your prayers. In the joy of the risen Lord and trusting in His everlasting help, we go forward. The Lord will help us and Mary, His Most Blessed Mother, will be with us. Thank you."

Three days earlier, Joseph Ratzinger had turned 78 and was therefore older than any other Pope since Clement XII when he was elected . (1730). Like his two predecessors by Paul VI. Raised cardinal, he had served as such for almost 28 years, longer than any other Pope since Benedict XIII. (Election 1724). The election of a German to the Pope received particular attention in Germany and was greeted by the Bildzeitung with the headline : “ We are Pope! ".

Course of the pontificate

On Sunday, April 24th, 2005, Benedict XVI. the fisherman's ring and the pallium as a sign of the Petrine service as part of a festive service on St. In front of several hundred thousand believers and government officials from all over the world, he emphasized that he did not want to make a government statement. He spoke of an unheard-of mission that surpassed all human capabilities . At the same time he emphasized: The Church is alive, the Church is young! In August 2005 Benedict XVI visited the XX. World Youth Day in Cologne . On September 24, 2005, he received the Tübingen theologian Hans Küng, who had been reprimanded by the Vatican in 1979, for an interview. From May 25th to May 28th 2006 he visited the homeland of his predecessor John Paul II in Poland .

Shortly after his inauguration, the new Pope Angelo confirmed Cardinal Sodano in his office as Cardinal Secretary of State and all the heads of the congregations . Less than a month later, he transferred his own former position as chairman of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to the then Archbishop of San Francisco , William Joseph Levada . On March 11, 2006, Benedict XVI. a long-awaited reform of the Curia and merged the offices of several papal councils. New appointments followed with the appointment of Ivan Cardinal Dias as Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples on May 20, of Tarcisio Bertone as Cardinal Secretary of State and of Giovanni Lajolo as President of the Pontifical Commission for the State of Vatican City and the Governorate of Vatican City on May 22 June and by Cláudio Hummes as Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy on October 31, 2006.

In several small decisions, for example with regard to the (temporary) use of a pallium in the old style or the choice of words when it took possession of the Lateran basilica , an orientation towards the tradition of the undivided church before 1054 as well as a more modest and less centralistic manner of administration can be seen is shown, for example, in the retransmission of the beatification celebrations to the local churches . In the intra-Christian dialogue, efforts to draw closer to the Orthodox churches are to be noted. At the beginning of 2006, Benedict XVI decided to drop the honorary title of Patriarch of the West , which the Popes had held from the 5th century onwards. It was then removed from the official title in the 2006 Annuario Pontificio . Before that, there had been an exchange of letters between the Pope and the Patriarch of Moscow in which Benedict XVI. Birthday greetings and the request for cooperation against the secularized world, as well as the correspondence with the Patriarch of Constantinople on the occasion of the St. Andrew's Festival . This last-mentioned correspondence was followed by Bartholomäus I's invitation to the Pope to visit him in November 2006. On May 18, 2006, the first Russian Orthodox Church in Rome was inaugurated by Metropolitan Kyrill I , head of the Russian Orthodox Foreign Office. In the course of this visit to Rome there was also a meeting with the Pope.

Tensions between the People's Republic of China and the Vatican arose in May 2006 after the government-authorized Catholic-Patriotic Association in China consecrated two bishops and installed one in office within two weeks without waiting for approval from the Vatican. The Pope, who considers the association and its principles incompatible with Catholic teaching, later openly criticized the restrictions on freedom of religion and conscience in China.

On the 2007 World Day of Peace, Benedict XVI emphasized the duty to “ cultivate awareness of the dual aspect of the gift and the task”. Tension arose in Italy in spring 2007 between the Church and the government under Romano Prodi , as the government in Italy was planning to recognize homosexual couples on the part of the state. Various politicians in Italy, journalists and artists therefore accused the Vatican and Pope of exerting influence on domestic politics in Italy, which they believed to be unjustified.

At the opening of the Latin American Bishops' Conference in Aparecida, Brazil on May 13, 2007, Benedict spoke about the Christianization of Latin America, which was not an enforcement of a foreign culture, but was unconsciously longed for by the indigenous people. This was contradicted by representatives of the Indians who described the speech as "arrogant and disrespectful". "To say that the cultural decimation of our people is a purification is insulting and - frankly - frightening." ( Sandro Tuxa ). The German Latin American historian Hans-Jürgen Prien saw these statements as “an unbelievable distortion of history ” and a step backwards compared to the position of John Paul II, who in a 1992 speech admitted errors in the evangelization of the native tribes and peoples. In contrast, the Pope declared that preaching Jesus and his Gospel did not at any time presuppose an alienation from pre-Columbian cultures, nor was it the imposition of a foreign culture. Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez demanded an apology from the Pope: "With all due respect, you should apologize because there really was genocide here and if we denied it we would be denying our deepest selves."

On June 26, 2007, Pope Benedict XVI. the Motu Proprio De aliquibus mutationibus in normis de electione Romani Pontificis, which repealed No. 75 of the Apostolic Constitution Universi Dominici Gregis from 1988 and replaced it with a regulation according to which a two-thirds majority is required in every case to elect the Pope .

In his message for the World Day of Peace 2008, Benedict XVI. the importance of the Christian family for world peace becomes clear.

In mid-January 2008 the Vatican canceled a visit by the Pope to La Sapienza University , against which 67 of the 4,500 professors protested in a manifesto, as well as students. They accused the Pope of, as the then prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in a speech on March 15, 1990 in Parma (the event had actually taken place at the Sapienza in Rome) with a quote from the philosopher Paul Feyerabend, the condemnation of Galileo Galileo by the Church as “rational and fair ”.

On April 16, 2008, he was received by President George W. Bush on a six-day trip to the United States . During his trip, Benedict expressed himself as deeply ashamed of pedophile priests and repeatedly called on the Catholic Church in the USA to purify and renew them after the abuse scandals . He also met with men and women who had been molested by priests as children or adolescents. He praised the deep spirituality in the USA. In a speech to the UN General Assembly in New York on April 18, he called on the United Nations to adopt a policy of preventive conflict resolution. All diplomatic means and "even the slightest signs" of willingness to enter into dialogue must be used. At the same time, however, he did not rule out “collective action by the international community”. To conclude his trip, on April 20, the Pope visited Ground Zero , the site of the attacks against the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, and celebrated Holy Mass at Yankee Stadium in front of tens of thousands of visitors.

Another step in the rapprochement with Orthodoxy was the opening of the Pauline Year on June 28, 2008 to commemorate the apostle Paul's 2000th year of birth with the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople in the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls and in the presence of Patriarch Bartholomew First Holy Mass celebrated in St. Peter on the following day, the patron saint of Peter and Paul . In this Benedict XVI. and Bartholomew I held the word service together, both preached a sermon, spoke the Nicene Creed in Greek and gave the blessing together.

The International Roman Catholic Old Catholic Dialogue Commission (IRAD), which was set up during the pontificate of John Paul II under Benedict XVI. continued their work and in 2009 published the report Church and Church Fellowship , which describes the separation between the Catholic and Old Catholic Church as an "intra-Catholic problem" due to the similarities it found . The Dialogue Commission has been meeting regularly since 2012, with Archbishop Hans-Josef Becker and Bishop Matthias Ring appointed as co-chairs .

On June 29, 2010, Benedict announced the establishment of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization for post-Christian communities. On October 11, 2011, Pope Benedict XVI called with the " Apostolic Letter in the form of a Motu proprio Porta fidei " (Gate of Faith) a year of faith is over . It began on October 11, 2012, the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, and ended on the Feast of Christ the King in 2013 (November 24, 2013).

In the pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI. The so-called Vatileaks affair falls , in which internal documents from the Vatican have become public. On February 15, 2013, Benedict XVI. the Knight of Malta Ernst von Freyberg as the new head of the Vatican Bank .

Public impact and criticism


Pope Benedict XVI at the Pentecost Mass in St. Peter's Basilica on May 15, 2005

Already in the first months after his election, Benedict XVI. also met with representatives of Judaism (Rome, Cologne, Vienna) and Muslim communities (Cologne). He always emphasized that he wanted to continue the dialogue between religions and cultures in the tradition of the Second Vatican Council (cf. its declaration Nostra aetate ) and its predecessor - John Paul II.

On the Forbes list of the 70 most powerful people in the world was Benedict XVI. in December 2012 in 5th place.

The philosopher Hans Albert examined Joseph Ratzinger's methods of dealing with problems and accused him of “an arbitrary restriction of the use of reason in the sense of belief” and arguments based on conceptual confusions that assumed the believer's privilege of knowledge.

After renouncing the papacy, the Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon said in an interview that Benedict XVI. I have contributed to “overcoming the challenges of our time” and have done a lot for interreligious dialogue.

Jesus image and theology

The book Jesus of Nazareth , published in 2007 with renunciation of magisterial authority . From the baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration, as well as the volume that followed, were valued as a personal testimony of faith and a “theological reading book” (a characterization of Joseph Ratzinger himself). The attempt to combine historical-critical and theological exegesis was welcomed in part as a fundamentally important expansion within historical Jesus research . In this form, however, it was largely classified as methodologically inadequate, inadmissible standardization of the Gospels from John's Gospel and "uncritical [s] trust" in the sources and was rarely taken up directly.

Benedict XVI. however, in his book on Jesus he often points to differences with which the authors of the Gospels preserved the figure of Jesus in their tradition. He sees in the Johannine incarnation theology (“becoming man of God” - the being of God in man as redeemer) and the Pauline theology of the cross (the action of God in the cross and resurrection as the redemption of men) polarities of the same truth that cannot be synthesized, which “only in to refer their to one another to the whole ”. However, through his thesis, which is also represented in the Jesus book, that Jesus is identical with his message and his work (the interlocking of his being and doing ), he discovers elements of unity in both historical paths of Christology , which are particularly emphasized in the Jesus book.

Uniqueness of the Roman Catholic Church

The document of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith , published on July 10, 2007 , which emphasizes the uniqueness of the Roman Catholic Church, received criticism from some representatives of Protestantism . According to this, the Orthodox churches can be described as “real particular churches” because they are in apostolic succession ; however, they suffered "want" from lack of communion with the Roman Church and the Pope. The Protestants, on the other hand, did not form “churches in the actual sense”, but merely “ ecclesiastical communities ” which, like the Roman Catholic or Orthodox Church, could not refer to the apostolic succession. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith thus reaffirmed the Declaration Dominus Iesus published in 2000 , which it had issued under the chairmanship of the then Prefect Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger.

The fact that the Protestant churches in the tradition of Unitatis redintegratio - the final document of the Second Vatican Council on ecumenism - are not addressed as “churches”, but “only” as “ecclesial communities” is a disparagement for many Protestant Christians. The council chairman of the Evangelical Church in Germany , Bishop Wolfgang Huber , spoke of a “setback for ecumenism” in connection with the Pope's statements. Metropolitan Kyrill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad , chairman of the ecclesiastical foreign office of the Moscow Patriarchate, praised the " honesty of the Vatican's understanding of the church", although he does not share the position of the Holy See. The Bavarian regional bishop Johannes Friedrich stated that the Protestant side, as the Catholic Church defines itself, does not want to be a church either, and assessed the document as "not a rejection of ecumenical efforts."

From the Catholic point of view, however, this designation can even be seen as being particularly valued, since they are not only addressed as “believers' associations” or “Christian communities”, but are expressly granted ecclesiastical elements under the condition of the Catholic-theological concept of church. The Commission for Faith and Order is therefore endeavoring in a theological study to reach an understanding on the question of the understanding of the church ( ecclesiology ).

Lecture in Regensburg - Dialogue with Islam

On his second visit as Pope in Germany, Benedict XVI. 2006 gave a lecture to scientists at the University of Regensburg . In it he quoted a statement by the late medieval Byzantine emperor Manuel II on the role of violence in Islam . The dictum, known as the “ Pope quote from Regensburg ”, was called a hate sermon by a number of representatives of Islam and was heavily criticized. On the other hand, 38 high-ranking Islamic scholars appeared in the Council, who in an open letter of October 12, 2006 contradicted the representation of their faith in the quotation used in the Pope's speech, but at the same time advocated a continuation of the dialogue between Christianity and Islam.

Especially after Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Turkey. many initially critical voices reassessed the speech. The Islamic newspaper Zaman spoke of the fact that “the dialogue between the religions had really got underway” and Die Zeit - initially very harsh in its criticism - now spoke approvingly of the “wise men in the Orient”, “the most important authority in the Islamic world of the West will ”. In conclusion, Cardinal Lehmann, the chairman of the German Bishops' Conference at the time, said with regard to the Regensburg lecture that there was nothing to take back or to excuse. If the discussion about the speech was supposed to have served to make the dialogue between Christianity and Islam more serious, it had its good purpose. Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone described the "Regensburg case" as an "archaeological relic" to Vatican Radio . The Pope has proven that he is open to a true dialogue with Islam.

On May 2nd, 2008 Pope Benedict XVI received a delegation of Shiite Muslims from Iran led by Mahdi Mostafavi . The Holy See and the Iranian theologians had previously agreed in Rome on a joint declaration on the subject of "Faith and Reason in Christianity and Islam". The statement emphasizes, among other things, that faith and reason are "inherently non-violent" and should never be used for violence.

Relations with Judaism

Benedict XVI. and the Polish President Lech Kaczyński visiting the Auschwitz I concentration camp (main camp, 2006)

On various occasions of his pontificate, Benedict XVI. the opportunity to meet and dialogue with representatives of Judaism . During his trip to World Youth Day 2005 on August 19, he was the first Pope to visit a Jewish place of worship in Germany in the Cologne synagogue , where he condemned every form of racism and anti-Semitism in a speech . He also announced that he wanted to continue the “trusting dialogue” between Jews and Christians initiated by John Paul II “with full strength”, but also recalled “the complex and often painful relationships” between Christians and Jews. Furthermore, during this visit he spoke out in favor of a sincere and trusting dialogue between the two religions and emphasized their common roots. The visit to the assembly room of the synagogue was preceded by participation in the kaddish , a Jewish funeral prayer for the 11,000 Cologne Jews who fell victim to the Holocaust. Synagogue head Abraham Lehrer , who said that Benedict stands for acceptance and tolerance of Judaism, welcomed the Pope as the “greatest bridge builder” between the religions. The chairman of the Central Council of Jews in Germany , Paul Spiegel , praised the Pope's speech as a hopeful sign of understanding between Jews and Christians.

During his apostolic trip to Poland , Benedict XVI visited on May 28, 2006 the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp . While Holocaust survivors such as Marek Edelman praised the visit and the speech given there, the Polish Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich criticized the fact that the Pope in Auschwitz did not comment on the issue of anti-Semitism in Poland, such as the national conservative Catholic radio station Radio Maryja . Daniel Goldhagen also expressed criticism, accusing the Pope of obscuring historical understanding and accusing him of evading moral responsibility and shirking political duty.

The lifting of the excommunication of four Bishops of the Brotherhood of Saint Pius, including Richard Williamson, strained relations between the Holy See and Judaism. The Pope responded on February 12, 2009 with a private audience for delegates from the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations , in which he repeated the prayer of Pope John Paul II at the Wailing Wall in 2000 , strongly condemning the Holocaust and the irrevocable Emphasized the Church's obligation to treat the people of the covenant with respect and harmony . Rabbi David Rosen , then chairman of the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations (IJCIC) then said that Pope Benedict had turned a minus into a plus.

In July 2012, Rabbi Rosen said that relations between Jews and Catholics had never been better. In response to Benedict's declaration of resignation, Israeli Chief Rabbi Jona Metzger had a spokesman say: “During his tenure, there were the best relations between the Church and the Chief Rabbinate [...] He deserves a high reputation for the expansion of interreligious ties between Judaism, Christianity and Islam . "The President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany said:" Pope Benedict XVI. gave new impetus to the Judeo-Christian relationship and filled it with cordiality. ”Israeli President Shimon Peres and the President of the World Jewish Congress, Ronald S. Lauder, made similar statements .

The article Grace and Calling Without Repentance - Notes on the Tract “De Iudaeis” from October 2017 provoked controversial reactions. This was a private reflection of Benedict XVI. originated and not intended for publication, however, at the suggestion of Cardinal Kurt Koch, who wrote the preface, it was published in 2018. According to Koch, it is "an important response to the invitation of the Vatican Commission to an in-depth theological dialogue between the Catholic Church and Judaism". The Berlin rabbi Walter Homolka , on the other hand, said that anyone who describes the role of Judaism in this way is “helping to build the new foundation for Christian anti-Semitism”. As a result, Benedict published an exchange of letters with the Vienna Chief Rabbi Arie Folger and in November of that year again stated that Judaism and Christianity stood for two ways of interpreting Scripture. For Christians, the promises to Israel are the hope of the Church. Those who hold on to it do not in any way question the foundations of the Judeo-Christian dialogue.

Dealing with the Society of St. Pius X.

After speaking with Bernard Fellay , Superior General of the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X. , on August 29, 2005 , Benedict XVI. Further steps towards rapprochement, in that in January 2009 he lifted the excommunication pronounced in 1988 by Marcel Lefebvre of four bishops who were ordained without the consent of the then Pope and who belong to the Society of St. Pius X. Like Benedict XVI. 2010 once again made clear, the four bishops had to “be released from excommunication for purely legal reasons”, as they had previously recognized in a letter the primacy of the Pope in general and the incumbent Pope in particular and therefore the reason for the excommunication pronounced in 1988 - the episcopal ordination without the consent of the Pope - no longer existed. Benedict XVI. also showed that this is the same process that is also used analogously in China: If a bishop consecrated there without the consent of the Pope recognizes the primacy of the Pope, the excommunication imposed on him will also be lifted because it is not is more justified. With this decision, the four bishops are allowed to receive the sacraments again - especially communion and the sacrament of penance - but they remain suspended, i.e. they are not allowed to exercise their office, so that all of their official acts are regarded as illegal. In addition to Fellay himself, Richard Williamson, who was noticed in 1989 and 2008 through Holocaust denials , was one of these bishops .

According to a statement by the Anti-Defamation League in the United States, this move by the Pope has undermined good relations between Catholics and Jews. In Germany too, Dieter Graumann , Vice-President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany , regretted the move ; the Society of St. Pius X. themselves criticized Williamson's statements and asked the Pope for forgiveness. On January 28, 2009, without mentioning Williamson by name, the Pope described the extermination of the Jews during the Nazi era as a “memorial against all forgetting and denial” and assured the Jewish people of his “full and indisputable solidarity.” On February 4 In 2009 the Vatican State Secretariat announced that the four bishops of the Pius Brotherhood were still suspended from priestly and episcopal offices and that Richard Williamson had to "distance himself from his positions on the Shoah in an absolutely unambiguous and public manner" in order to take up a position as bishop in the to be admitted to the Catholic Church; it was also declared that Benedict XVI. was unaware of Williamson's denial of the Holocaust at the time the excommunication was lifted. In the summer of 2009, the Stockholm Bishop Anders Arborelius stated that he had already informed the Vatican of Williamson's Holocaust denial in the fall of 2008; the former cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos contradicted this representation. Benedict XVI. declared once again in 2010 that knowing that he had denied the Holocaust, he would not have lifted Williamson's excommunication and had treated Williamson's case separately from the lifting of the excommunication of the other three bishops. The then head of the German-language editorial staff of Vatican Radio, Father Eberhard von Gemmingen , expressed criticism of the Pope and his media advisors on the same day: “The Pope has not yet had a feeling or an adviser who can tell him what the political consequences of this or any statement are Has."

However, there were also a number of Jewish voices who contradicted these requests to speak and who regard the Pope's decision as an internal matter of the Catholic Church, which does not endanger the Judeo-Christian dialogue . Gary L. Krupp, Jewish president of the “Pave the Way” foundation, criticized the, in his opinion, “abbreviated” public reports on the lifting of the excommunication of the four bishops of the Pius Brotherhood and emphasized that in the past the schisms caused by excommunications had led to the emergence of new ones led by religious communities. According to Krupp, if the Pope had not now taken the initiative to end this schism, in the case of the Pius Brotherhood, which he believes has an estimated one million followers, “one day our children and grandchildren could emerge from a vicious right-wing religion see". Referring to Williamson, Krupp asked: “Should we allow bizarre statements and beliefs by this one man to damage the Jewish-Catholic dialogue that has consistently been treated as the main focus of the Church and this pontificate? We say: no! "

In a letter to the bishops of the Catholic Church on March 10, 2009, the Pope regretted that “the removal of the excommunication was overshadowed by the Williamson case. The gentle gesture of mercy towards four valid but not legitimately consecrated bishops suddenly appeared as something completely different: a rejection of Christian-Jewish reconciliation ”. The Pope goes on to write, “I understand that if the news available on the Internet had been followed closely, it would have been possible to find out about the problem in good time. I learn from this that we in the Holy See will have to pay more attention to this source of news in the future. "He also notes that much of the reporting was inaccurate or even misrepresented, and continues:" I was saddened that Catholics, too, who could actually know better, who believed they had to hit me with ready-to-jump hostility. I thank my Jewish friends all the more, who helped to quickly put an end to the misunderstanding and to restore the atmosphere of friendship and trust that - as in the time of Pope John Paul II - throughout my pontificate had passed and, thank God, continues to exist. "

Bioethics and protection of life

Already in his first sermon as Pope in San Giovanni in Laterano , Benedict emphasized that on questions of abortion and euthanasia he would stick to the teaching of the Church and the positions of his predecessor: “When he [John Paul II] heed the incorrect interpretations of Faced with freedom, he unmistakably underlined the inviolability of human nature, the inviolability of human life from conception to natural death. "

Benedict XVI. is an opponent of genetic engineering , which he sees in contradiction to divine creation.

In his 2009 encyclical Caritas in veritate , he recognized technology as a means of overcoming material limitations. At the same time, he emphasized responsibility - it should not only be asked for the “how”, but also for the “why”. He warned against the “development and promotion of in vitro fertilization , embryo research , possibilities of cloning and hybridization of humans.” Future possible “systematic eugenic birth planning”, like abortion, is an expression of a “culture of death”. In the same context, Benedict once again condemned euthanasia as "an expression of dominion over life which, under certain conditions, is no longer considered worth living."

Speech in the German Bundestag on September 22, 2011

On September 22, 2011, Pope Benedict XVI held As part of his third apostolic trip to Germany, he gave a much-noticed speech in the German Bundestag . It was the first speech by a Pope before an elected German parliament. He accepted an invitation from the President of the Bundestag Norbert Lammert . In this speech he submitted thoughts on the fundamentals of the free constitutional state. The concept of an “ecology of man” , which he discussed as part of his defense of natural law , received special attention . The announcement that the Pope would give a speech in the Bundestag provoked protests. "About 100 of the 620 parliamentarians want to boycott the performance because they consider it to be incompatible with the religious neutrality of the state."

Papal journeys

From Benedict XVI. countries visited

Benedict XVI. Completed a total of 24 apostolic trips outside of Italy as well as 31 pastoral trips within Italy (including to San Marino ) and two Italian state visits . He thus followed up on the travel activities of his predecessor , who had undertaken a total of 104 trips abroad during his 26-year tenure. The first foreign trip of Benedict XVI. was in August 2005 for the XX. World Youth Day in Cologne . Further apostolic trips to Germany took place in 2006 and 2011. He also came to Spain three times : 2006, 2010 and the XXVI. World Youth Day 2011 in Madrid . His last trip abroad took him to Lebanon in September 2012 .

On his further apostolic journeys he visited Poland , Turkey , Brazil , Austria , the United States , Australia ( XXIII World Youth Day ), France , Cameroon , Angola , Jordan , Israel , the Czech Republic , Malta , Portugal , Cyprus , the United Kingdom and Croatia , Benin , Mexico and Cuba .

Within Italy he visited on his pastoral trips a. a. Milan , Venice , Naples , Turin with pilgrimage to the Turin Shroud , Genoa , Verona and twice each of the pilgrimage sites of Assisi and Loreto . He spent most of the summer months each year in the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo in the Alban Hills.


Benedict with the white Mozetta of Easter time (2011)
Benedict with the new round woven pallium (2008)
Benedict with the red Saturno (2007)

The question of the nature and form of the liturgy was shown to be a focus of the pontificate. At the request of the Pope, the edition of his "Gesammelte Schriften", published by the then Bishop of Regensburg Gerhard Ludwig Müller , was opened in 2008 with his contributions to the liturgy (vol. 11), because this "is indicative of my thinking." Even as a cardinal Ratzinger criticized various phenomena in the implementation of the liturgical reform after the Second Vatican Council and was personally "convinced that the church crisis we are experiencing today is largely based on the disintegration of the liturgy." He described in his book Der Geist , published in 2000 of the liturgy , that the church always has to pay attention to the common orientation of priests and believers towards the east (alternatively towards an "east of faith") during liturgical execution. The rectification of the assembled symbolized a procession of the participating people of God, while the turn of the priest to the people forms a closed circle, i.e. no longer symbolizes departure. He drew attention to the fact that this conception of liturgy had been obscured in modern times and "every time must find and express the essential anew". In this sense, he advocated the approach of the altar and thus the actual place of the mass sacrifice to the people, which the liturgical reform had brought. He pleaded for the altar cross to be given back its central place in the liturgy, ie to be placed back in the center of the altar so that priests and believers can visibly turn "towards the Lord".

In July 2007, Pope Benedict XVI. in the apostolic letter Summorum Pontificum that Holy Mass is to be given by every priest except in the ordinary form (forma ordinaria) of the Roman rite according to the Missal of Paul VI. without further ado also in the extraordinary form (forma extraordinaria) of the Roman rite after the last under John XXIII. Missal, printed in 1962, may be celebrated because this traditional form has never been abolished. In an accompanying letter to all bishops, the Pope stressed the pastoral aspect of his arrangement. According to some observers, with this step he questioned the theological basis of the liturgical reform following the Second Vatican Council . As one of Benedict in 2008 in the Sistine Chapel at the historic high altar held on in the meantime used Volksaltar celebrated Mass an immediate debate gave rise again, said the Vatican, the pope did not intend to make the liturgy reform will be reversed, and referred to the independent of the form of theological Basic ideas of the celebration in common direction.

After Benedict's Motuproprio Summorum Pontificum, the Church and Jewish criticism of the use of the earlier Good Friday prayers for the Jews , the Pope reacted by drafting and decreeing a reformulation of this request only for the extraordinary form. The fact that he did not completely abolish the intercession, judged by some to be anti-Judaistic , in favor of the version valid for the ordinary form since 1970 triggered a public discussion and, according to some observers, burdened the Judeo-Christian dialogue.

In a letter dated April 14, 2012 to Archbishop Zollitsch, then chairman of the German Bishops' Conference , Benedict decreed that in the German missal the words “pro multis” in the canon prayers of the mass should be reproduced verbatim with “for many” instead of “for all” . This was implemented in 2013 in the new edition of the German-language Catholic prayer and hymn book God Praise , a revision of the official German altar measurement book is still pending.

The emphasis on liturgical continuity is also symbolically expressed in the Pope's pontificate. After the position of the Pontifical Master of Ceremonies was replaced by the Italian priest Guido Marini , the changes proposed in the book “The Spirit of the Liturgy” were implemented in the papal liturgy. In addition, the Pope often uses paraments that are reminiscent of Gothic or Baroque designs in their formal language. The modern designed Ferula , which since Paul VI. was used, he had it replaced in 2009 - also due to its size and heavy weight, which, together with the heavy parament, is a hindrance when walking - with a model based on classic designs, which was given to him by the Roman charity "Circolo San Pietro".


On February 11, 2013, Benedict XVI. announced during a consistory that on February 28, 2013, 8 p.m. (CET), “to renounce the office of Bishop of Rome, the successor of Peter [...]”. He had "come to the certainty" that, as a result of his advanced age, his powers were no longer suitable "to exercise the Petrine ministry in an appropriate manner".

For the first time since Gregory XII. , Benedict XIII. and John XXIII. lost their offices by the Council of Constance 1414-1418, a pope did not leave office by death. This was done by Celestine V of his own accord in 1294 , whose relics Benedict XVI. in April 2009 in L'Aquila and in July 2010 after their transfer due to the earthquake in Sulmona .

On the last official acts of Benedict XVI. included the acceptance of Cardinal Keith Patrick O'Brien's resignation from the office of Archbishop of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh on February 25, 2013 and the decree of the Motu proprio Normas nonnullas on February 22, 2013, which gives the College of Cardinals the right when the presence of all It is certain that the electorate will vote to begin the conclave earlier than the fifteenth day of the vacancy. This was used immediately: the conclave for the election of the successor began on March 12th.

Pope emeritus

Letterhead and signature of Pope Benedict XVI. emeritus

After a general audience in St. Peter's Square on February 27, 2013 and further audiences on February 28, Benedict XVI. In the afternoon he returned to Castel Gandolfo , where in the early evening he showed himself to the faithful one last time as Pope. At 8:00 p.m. CET, the guardsmen of the Swiss Guard closed the gates of the Papal Palace and left their posts, which announced the end of the pontificate to the public. Benedict XVI. is referred to as "Pope emeritus" or "Roman pontiff emeritus" ( Summus Pontifex emeritus ), with the salutation "Holy Father" or "Your Holiness". In a FAZ report by Jörg Bremer, however, Benedikt himself wishes that he would only be addressed as "Father Benedict". Furthermore, he continues to wear the white cassock, but without the Pellegrina and Zingulum , and the white pileolus .

On March 23, 2013 Benedict XVI received Pope Francis on a private visit to Castel Gandolfo . This was the first time in over 700 years that an emeritus Pope and his successor in office met. Francis called himself and Benedict XVI. as "brothers", and both shared a prayer bench in a small chapel. The Pope emeritus vowed unconditional obedience to his successor.

After an area of ​​the Mater Ecclesiae monastery had been converted into a residence for him, Benedict returned to the Vatican on May 2, 2013, where he was greeted by Pope Francis. He also celebrated the first public consistory of his successor Pope Francis on February 22, 2014 in St. Peter's Basilica. On March 4, 2014, Pope Francis gave an interview in which he for the first time commented in detail on the relationship to his predecessor, including the joint decision that Benedict should again participate more in public church life. In March 2014, the Milan daily Corriere della Sera interviewed Benedict XVI. On April 27, 2014 he took part in the canonization of Popes John XXIII. and John Paul II through Pope Francis in St. Peter's Square and also in the beatification of Pope Paul VI. on October 19, 2014.

For the first time since his resignation, the Pope emeritus gave a lengthy public speech on the occasion of the award of two honorary doctorates from the Krakow Music Academy and the Krakow Pontifical University John Paul II on July 4, 2015 in Castel Gandolfo, in which he addressed Western music and church music.

In July 2018, the publication of the Benedict XVI. Essays actually written for internal use Grace and Calling without Remorse for Fuss. The text deals with the definition of the relationship between the Catholic Church and Judaism and specifies the terms “ substitution theology ” and “non-denounced covenant”.

In an article published “with the express permission of Francis” in April 2019 on the meeting of the presidents of all the world's bishops' conferences in February 2019, Benedict XVI. the "loosening of morality" in the course of the 1968 movement is partly responsible for the sexual abuse in the Catholic Church . During this time there was also a “collapse of Catholic moral theology ” which made parts of the church “defenseless against what is going on in society”, so Benedict XVI. In various seminaries, " homosexual clubs were formed that acted more or less openly and significantly changed the climate in the seminaries". Benedict referred to the need for society and the church to return to the fundamental Christian values, love and the revelation of God, since only a distance from God could have resulted in such levels of abuse and pedophilia. The text aroused criticism from Catholic theologians and was discussed controversially. The former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Müller, defended the letter of Benedict XVI. however, calling it "the most profound analysis of the genesis of the Church's crisis of credibility in matters of sexual morality". Benedict XVI. also expressed himself about the criticism of his letter.

In an essay written in 2019 in the book Des profondeurs de nos cœurs (“From the depths of our hearts”) published by Cardinal Robert Sarah in 2020 , the emeritus Benedict XVI. celibacy is of great importance. This is the basic requirement for the priest's approach to God to remain the basis of priestly life. The callings to the priesthood and to marriage seemed to him incompatible, since the ministry of the priest required total surrender to God. The book gave the first impression, Benedict XVI. be co-editor of the book; The cover showed the name and picture of the Pope emeritus, beneath the foreword and the afterword was Benedict's signature. Benedict XVI. distanced himself from co-authorship, and his private secretary, Archbishop Georg Gänswein , had this misleading information removed on behalf of the emeritus. The timing of the statement was described by commentators as sensitive, as it came at a time when the decision of the incumbent Pope Francis on a proposal by the Amazon Synod is expected to admit suitable men to priestly ordination in the Amazon even if they already have a family . The Cologne domradio saw in the choice of the time of publication of the book, which was before the publication of the post-synodal apostolic letter Querida Amazonia on the so-called Amazon Synod, "already a certain explosiveness" and took the position that Benedict was being abused "by his environment" . In the biography Benedict XVI , published in May 2020 . A life of Peter Seewald , said Benedict in the chapter Last questions to Benedict XVI.

From June 18 to 22, 2020, the Pope emeritus traveled to Regensburg to visit his brother Georg Ratzinger , whose state of health had deteriorated in the days before. He also visited his former home in Pentling and the family grave in Ziegetsdorf . The trip was Benedict's first stay outside Italy since resigning from office. Georg Ratzinger died on July 1st, 2020. In August 2020 it was reported that the Pope emeritus fell ill with a facial rose after his return to Rome . As his final resting place, Benedict XVI. the former grave of St. John Paul II . in the crypt of St. Peter because he feels particularly attached to his predecessor.

coat of arms

Pope's coat of arms of Benedict XVI.

Benedict XVI. accepted as Pope a new coat of arms designed by Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo . The new papal coat of arms contains symbols that were already found in his archbishop's coat of arms: the Korbinian bears of the diocesan patron Korbinian from the city coat of arms of Freising and the crowned Moors from the coat of arms of the archbishops of Munich-Freising , supplemented by a shell as an allusion to a legend about the pope Favorite theologian Augustine and the pilgrim symbol of the scallop shell .

Flowerbed with the coat of arms of Pope Benedict in the Vatican Gardens

Surprisingly, Benedict had the papal tiara , which had risen above the coat of arms for centuries with the crossed keys, replaced by a simple episcopal miter , which, however, is adorned with three golden ribbons, similar to the crown rings of the tiara, which stand for the three powers of the Pope: Consecration, Jurisdiction and teaching qualification. These are vertically connected in the center to show their unity in the same person. By choosing the miter instead of the tiara in the papal coat of arms, Benedict XVI. repeatedly emphasized collegiality of the bishops are represented. However, the standard of the Swiss Guard still showed Benedict's coat of arms crowned with the tiara. Under the coat of arms - as a sign of supervision and the pastoral office of a metropolitan - the pallium is shown for the first time in a papal coat of arms .

Pope Benedict XVI foundations and museums

The spiritual legacy of Joseph Ratzinger / Benedict XVI is preserved in five institutions. explored and preserved, or his life and work presented.


Bust of Pope Benedict XVI. in front of his primary church St. Oswald in Traunstein. Sculptor: Johann Brunner
Bronze statue on the wall of the Congregation Hall on Kapellplatz in Altötting

Awards, honors and memberships

In 1991 Ratzinger became a member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts in Salzburg / Austria. In addition, Benedict XVI. Member or corresponding member of other scientific academies in Europe , honorary doctorate from ten universities and honorary citizen of the communities Pentling (1987), Marktl am Inn (1997), Traunstein (2006), Regensburg (2006), Aschau am Inn (2006), Altötting (2006 ), Tittmoning (2007), Brixen (2008), Mariazell (2009), Freising (2010), Romano Canavese (2010), Natz-Schabs (2011) and Surberg (2018). He was awarded three literary prizes in Italy for his writing activities .

Even before his pontificate, Ratzinger received numerous orders and awards in Germany, Italy and other countries; These include the Grand Cross of the National Order of Merit of the Republic of Ecuador (1977), the Bavarian Maximilian Order for Science and Art (1995) and the Karl Valentin Order of the Munich Carnival (1989). The Federal Republic of Germany first awarded him the Great Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1985 with a star and shoulder ribbon; In 1994 he was awarded the highest order level with the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany . A granting of the special level of the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany , which was planned as part of a state visit in 2011, was omitted because Benedict XVI. did not accept secular orders.

Appropriate compositions

  • The clear, pure, white light , for singing solo, flute and organ, by Ludger Stühlmeyer (2006), dedicated to his 79th birthday.
  • Whoever believes is never alone , for choir (SATB), by Christian Dostal (2006), dedicated to the visit to Bavaria .
  • Missa Solemnis - Tu es Petrus , for choir and orchestra, by Wolfgang Seifen (2007), dedicated to her 80th birthday.
  • Missa per Papa , for choir (SATB), strings and organ, by Wolfram Menschick (2009), dedication: “Sancto Patri Benedicto XVI. dedicata ".
  • Our Father , for boy's voice or countertenor and string quintet or string orchestra, by Arvo Pärt (2005/2013), dedication: “To the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI”.


Teaching letters


  • 2006: Deus caritas est ("God is love")
  • 2007: Spe salvi ("In hope [we are] saved")
  • 2009: Caritas in veritate ("Love in Truth")
  • The encyclical Lumen fidei ("Light of Faith") was written by Benedict XVI. started and finished by his successor Francis. Benedict “had almost completed a first version of an encyclical on faith. […] In fraternity in Christ I take over his valuable work and add a few other contributions to the text, ”wrote Francis in the introduction to the encyclical that he signed on June 29, 2013.

Apostolic Letters (selection)

  • Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis (“Sacrament of Love”) on the Eucharist - the source and climax of the life and mission of the Church (February 22, 2007). The results of the XI. Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops , which took place from October 2 to 23, 2005 in the Vatican.
  • Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini on the Word of God in the life and mission of the Church (September 30, 2010). The results of the XII. Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which took place from October 5th to 26th, 2008 in the Vatican.
  • Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Africae munus on the Church in Africa in the service of reconciliation, justice and peace (November 19, 2011). The results of the 2nd Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for Africa, which took place from October 4th to 25th, 2009 in the Vatican, are presented.
  • Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus on the establishment of personal ordinariates for Anglicans entering full communion with the Catholic Church (November 4, 2009)
  • Motu proprio for the approval and publication of the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (June 28, 2005)
  • Motu proprio De aliquibus mutationibus in normis (June 26, 2007)
  • Motu proprio Summorum Pontificum (July 7, 2007)
  • Motu proprio Antiqua ordinatione (June 21, 2008)
  • Motu proprio Ecclesiae unitatem (July 2, 2009)
  • Motu proprio Omnium in mentem amending certain norms of the Code of Canon Law (October 26, 2009)
  • Motu proprio Ubicumque et semper , with which the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization is established (September 21, 2010)
  • Motu proprio on the prevention and defense of illegal activities in the financial and monetary sector (December 30, 2010). The starting point of this letter are the allegations against the Vatican Istituto per le Opere di Religione , the so-called Vatican Bank, for money laundering . In this Apostolic Letter, the Pope sets international standards for the Vatican's financial management . In addition, global money laundering and the possible financing of terrorism are to be prevented. He decrees that an “authority for financial information”, a kind of supervisory authority, should be set up to comply with and monitor the law. Another aim of these provisions is to get on the " white list " of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development ( OECD ). This list unites the states with strict controls against illegal financial transactions.
  • Motu proprio Porta fidei , with which a year of faith 2012-2013 was proclaimed (October 11, 2011)
  • Motu proprio Latina lingua , with which the Pontifical Academy for the Latin Language Pontificia Academia Latinitatis ad experimentum was established for a period of five years (November 10, 2012)

Academic and other publications (selection)

Ratzinger's publications total over 600 titles. Much of his scientific work did not lead directly to his own publications, but was reflected in various bodies, commissions and church official documents.

A comprehensive overview of Ratzinger's work up to his election as Pope is provided by a bibliography published by Sankt Ulrich Verlag in Augsburg . From 2008 onwards, a large part of Ratzinger's work will be provided by the Regensburg Institute Pope Benedict XVI. in Herder Verlag in applied to 16 volumes book series Collected Writings (JRGS): Joseph Ratzinger re-edited. Here is a selection of important publications:



  • Joseph Ratzinger (autobiographical): From my life. (1927-1977) . Stuttgart 1998, ISBN 3-453-16509-8 .

Theology and Faith Discussion

Philosophy and Politics / Culture Analysis


In 2019 the documentary Defender of the Faith by Christoph Röhl and the feature film The Two Popes , in which Benedict XVI. portrayed by Anthony Hopkins . Hopkins received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for this role.

Web links

Commons : Benedict XVI.  - Collection of images

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Benedict XVI .: Declaratio., February 11, 2013, accessed March 28, 2013 (translation from Latin).
  2. The grave stone is called as a birthday the 7 .1.1884, .
  3. Interview with historian Wehler: The controversy about Ratzinger's past is grotesque. Spiegel Online , April 22, 2005, accessed February 12, 2013
  4. ^ Matthias Drobinski: Joseph and the Hitler Youth. In: Süddeutsche Zeitung , May 19, 2010, accessed on February 12, 2013
  5. Hans Schwarz : Theology in a global context , limited preview in the Google book search (2nd edition 2016)
  6. Joseph Ratzinger: From my life. Memories (1927–1977) . Stuttgart 1998, p. 48 f.
  7. Joseph Ratzinger: From my life. Memories (1927–1977) . Stuttgart 1998, p. 49.
  8. Joseph Ratzinger: From my life. Memories (1927–1977) . Stuttgart 1998, p. 55 ff.
  9. ^ Ratzinger, Joseph. In: Salvador Miranda : The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church. ( Florida International University website ), accessed July 21, 2016. (English)
  10. The German Pope - Benedict XVI. ( Memento from October 10, 2006 in the Internet Archive ) Brockhaus-Infothek 2005
  11. Pope Benedict XVI. (PDF), accessed on May 5, 2013
  12. More about the Gebel School .
  13. Joseph Ratzinger: From my life. Memories (1927–1977) . Stuttgart 1998, p. 75 f.
  14. Joseph Ratzinger: From my life. Memories (1927–1977) . Stuttgart 1998, pp. 68-71
  15. ^ Rudolf Voderholzer : Revelation and Church. A basic idea of ​​Joseph Ratzinger's habilitation project (1955/2009) and its theological scope . (PDF; 108 kB) In: Marianne Schlosser , Franz-Xaver Heibl (Ed.): Presence of Revelation (= Ratzinger Studies, Vol. 2), Regensburg 2011, p. 51.
  16. Ayla Jacob: "His journey to Rome began in Bonn". In: General-Anzeiger Bonn . April 20, 2005, accessed April 24, 2019 .
  17. ^ A b Johannes Loy: Setting the course in Münster: From 1963 to 1965 Joseph Ratzinger commuted between the Westphalian metropolis and the council in Rome . In: Westfälische Nachrichten , February 12, 2013, special page: Pope Benedict XVI. gives office.
  18. ^ Schwahn: The Ecumenical Working Group ; P. 41
  19. Benedict VXI. and Tübingen ( Memento from March 7, 2008 in the Internet Archive ). Website of the University of Tübingen, as of March 7, 2008, with an application photo on the occasion of the appointment ( memento of July 31, 2007 in the Internet Archive ). Retrieved December 1, 2012.
  20. ^ Albrecht Beutel: Gerhard Ebeling. A biography , Tübingen 2012, p. 312.
  21. Theological Journal , Vol. 58, p. 281.
  22. ^ Theologian. Benedict XVI Birthplace Foundation, accessed on February 8, 2015 .
  23. Ratzinger's presentations to the Council Fathers can be found in Jared Wicks: Six texts by Prof. Joseph Ratzinger as peritus before and during the Vatican Council. In: Gregorianum. 2008, pp. 233-311 , archived from the original on September 25, 2012 ; accessed on April 2, 2018 .
  24. Jared Wicks: Six texts by Prof. Joseph Ratzinger as peritus before and during the Vatican Council. In: Gregorianum. 2008, pp. 233-311 , archived from the original on September 25, 2012 ; Retrieved on April 2, 2018 (in English, on the presentation see p. 241 ff., the presentation is reproduced verbatim in the original language, Latin, on pp. 295–309).
  25. Joseph Ratzinger: From my life. Memories (1927–1977) . Stuttgart 1998, pp. 106-132, especially p. 130
  26. cf. Joseph Ratzinger: Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation - Introduction . In: Josef Höfer , Karl Rahner (Ed.): Lexicon for Theology and Church . 2nd Edition. tape 13 . Herder, Freiburg im Breisgau 1967. (= The Second Vatican Council, documents and comments) ND 2014, 498–503, 501.
  27. ^ Memorandum dated February 9, 1970
  28. See Schematismus 2015/2016 of the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising, p. 19
  29. Biography of His Holiness Benedict XVI. - BENEDICT XVI. .
  30. cf. only: All: Cardinal Ratzinger . Patmos 2002.
  31. A. Ramelsberger, K. Prummer, D. Stawski: pedophile priests in Ratzinger's diocese . In: Süddeutsche Zeitung , March 12, 2010.
  32. a b Press release from the Archdiocese of Munich .
  33. a b Church: Abuse - What Did Joseph Ratzinger Know?, March 20, 2010
  34. TV interview with Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Bayerischer Rundfunk , broadcast on April 17, 2005, the eve of the opening of the conclave in which he was elected Pope.
  35. Answer of the Federal Government of November 2, 2005 (PDF) to the small question from the Bundestag member Hans-Christian Ströbele , Bundestag-Drucks. 16/48, p. 7
  36. The nationality of HH Pope Benedict XVI. (PDF; 39 kB) Retrieved on April 16, 2019 (press release by the government of the Upper Palatinate , without date).
  37. Instead Wolf-Dieter Barz: Pope Benedict XVI. - still a German eligible to vote? In: BayVBl. , 2006, 210. Romuald Haule: Are we still Pope? The legal status of the Vatican State and its nationality law . In: KuR , 2006, 1. In contrast, Günter Renner: Is Pope Benedict XVI. Stayed German? (PDF; 127 kB) In: ZAR , 2005, 282
  38. Benedict XVI. confirms the topicality of “Humanae vitae”. Zenit, October 3, 2008, archived from the original on January 18, 2009 ; accessed on April 2, 2018 .
  39. ^ Benedict XVI .: Light of the World. The Pope, the Church and the signs of the times. An interview with Peter Seewald . Herder, Freiburg im Breisgau 2010, ISBN 978-3-451-32537-3 .
  40. Reactions to Ratzinger: Congratulations and skepticism .
  41. Gerrit Schulte: This criticism is also personally hurtful. Cardinal Lehmann reacts to statements made by Cardinals Ratzinger and Meisner on the ÖKT . In: Day of the Lord 53, No. 31, 2003.
  42. See Instructio de quibusdam rationibus “Theologiae Liberationis”, August 6, 1984. In: AAS 76 (1984) 876-909; DOCUMENTA 57, v. a. Paragraph VI.ff., in particular VIII.-XI.
  43. See Instructio de libertate christiana et liberatione, March 22, 1986. In: AAS 79 (1987) 554-599; DOCUMENTA 60, v. a. Paragraph 75 ff.
  44. Jump up Dyana Bagby: Blessed bigotry: Pope Benedict XVI is Anti-Gay Person of the Yea. 'God's rottweiler' actively pursues political agenda against gay marriage, priests . ( Memento from June 4, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) In: Washington Blade , December 30, 2005, accessed on March 22, 2011. Micha Müller: Pope Ratzinger: Horror in the scene ., April 20, 2005, accessed March 22, 2011.
  45. Joseph Ratzinger, Angelo Amato: Considerations on the drafts of a legal recognition of the unions between homosexual persons . Edited by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. In: , June 3, 2003, accessed March 22, 2011.
  46. Considerations on the drafts of a legal recognition of unions between homosexual persons .
  47. Jakob Wetzel: Pławeckis Mission . January 15, 2015.
  48. Joseph Ratzinger: Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion - General Principles., July 3, 2004, archived from the original on December 7, 2006 ; accessed on April 1, 2018 (English).
  49. Schönborn: Ratzinger took decisive action against abusers. KNA, October 29, 2019, accessed October 31, 2019 .
  50. Röhl's film “Defender of Faith”: “A terrible caricature”., November 1, 2019, accessed on November 1, 2019 (Interview by José García with Peter Seewald).
  51. ↑ : Abuse: Jesuit Zollner takes Benedict XVI. in Schutz , November 21, 2019.
  52. ^ Paul Badde: Pope appoints Ratzinger number three in the Catholic Church . In: Die Welt , December 2, 2002.
  53. ^ Daniel J. Wakin, Mark Landler: German Cardinal Has a Major Voice at the Funeral . In: The New York Times , April 8, 2005.
  54. Thomas Götz: Guardian of the Interregnum . In: Berliner Zeitung , April 2, 2005.
  55. Heimo Schwilk: The next Pope could be German . In: Welt am Sonntag , February 13, 2005.
  56. Paul Badde: Speculations about the Pope's successor . In: Die Welt , February 10, 2005.
  57. Jeff Israely: The Next Pope: Rome Eyes A Hard-Liner . In: Time Magazine , Jan. 3, 2005.
  58. Paul Badde: The list of candidates is long . In: Die Welt , April 2, 2005.
  59. Christiane Kohl: Curtain up for Cardinale No . In: Süddeutsche Zeitung , April 4, 2005.
  60. ^ Gernot Facius: Papal maker: Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger . In: Die Welt , April 6, 2005.
  61. ^ Benedict XVI .: General audience on April 27, 2005
  62. IN THE TRUTH LIES PEACE - Message for the World Day of Peace , January 1, 2006.
  63. ^ First greeting from His Holiness Benedict XVI. In: April 19, 2005, accessed March 18, 2013 .
  64. ↑ The Pope gives consolation to persecuted Christians in China. Welt online , December 26, 2010, accessed April 1, 2018 .
  65. Catholics in China. Zenit, December 2, 2010, archived from the original on October 7, 2012 ; accessed on April 2, 2018 .
  66. Vatican railed against "marriages without a marriage certificate" . Focus Online , December 10, 2006.
  67. Bettina Gabbe: Vatican insults comedians as terrorists . ( Memento of May 5, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) Netzeitung , May 3, 2007.
  68. Apostolic Journey to Brazil: Opening Session of the V General Conference of the Episcopal Conferences of Latin America and the Caribbean in the Conference Hall of the Shrine of Aparecida (May 13, 2007) - BENEDICT XVI. .
  69. Pope speech "insulting and frightening" . In: Die Presse , May 14, 2007
  70. An unbelievable misunderstanding of history . In: Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger , May 17, 2007; Interview with Hans-Jürgen Prien.
  71. South America: Did Jesus Save the Native Americans? - Pope's statement outraged the Indians. Hamburger Abendblatt, May 16, 2007, accessed on April 2, 2018 .
  72. Chavez asks the Pope to apologize . In: Der Standard , May 20, 2007.
  73. cf. Benedict XVI: Motu proprio on some changes in the norms regarding the election of the Pope. June 11, 2007, accessed February 9, 2015 .
  74. Rome's intellectuals critical of the Pope and a false quote from Wikipedia .
  75. NULL: Copia e incolla da Wikipedia: 67 docenti per un errore . February 6, 2008.
  76. ^ Paul Feyerabend: Against method pressure . Suhrkamp 1986, p. 8, p. 206.
  77. ^ Joseph Ratzinger: Galileo . In: Turning point for Europe? Diagnoses and prognoses on the situation of the Church and the world . Einsiedeln 1991, p. 59–71 ( excerpt from Ratzinger's speech at (January 16, 2008) ).
  78. Pope surrenders to student protests . Welt online , January 15, 2008.
  79. Alexander Schwabe: Benedict XVI. before the UN. Relapse into professorial Latin . Spiegel Online , April 19, 2008.
  80. Apostolic Journey to the United States: At the UN General Assembly in New York (April 18, 2008) - BENEDICT XVI. .
  81. International Roman-Catholic - Old Catholic Dialogue Commission . Vatican Radio, accessed August 2, 2014
  82. ^ Church and church fellowship. Report of the International Roman Catholic Old Catholic Dialogue Commission . Bonifatius Lembeck, Paderborn / Frankfurt / Main 2009, ISBN 978-3-89710-456-3 , p. 7 .
  83. Urs von Arx: The report of the International Roman Catholic Old Catholic Dialogue Commission: Church and Church Fellowship . In: Wolfgang W. Müller (Ed.): Church and Church Fellowship. The catholicity of the Old Catholics . Theological Publishing House, Zurich 2013, ISBN 978-3-290-20089-3 , p. 20.
  84. ^ International Roman-Catholic - Old Catholic Dialogue Commission IRAD met in Paderborn . Archdiocese of Paderborn, accessed on July 27, 2014
  85. Benedict XVI .: Light of the World: The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times - a conversation with Peter Seewald . Città del Vaticano / Freiburg 2010, p. 249.
  86. ^ Apostolic Exhortation Porta Fidei . Vatican; Retrieved October 19, 2011.
  87. German Bishops' Conference welcomes the “Year of Faith” . German Bishops' Conference; Retrieved October 18, 2011.
  88. German knight should become head of the Vatican Bank .
  89. ^ Tilmann Kleinjung: Pope makes German knight head of the Vatican Bank . ARD Tagesschau, February 15, 2013
  90. ^ Paul Badde: Pope remembers the victims of the Holocaust in Vienna . Welt online , September 7, 2007.
  91. December 5, 2012
  92. Hans Albert : Joseph Ratzinger Salvation of Christianity: Restrictions on the Use of Reason in the Service of Religious Faith . Aschaffenburg 2008, ISBN 978-3-86569-037-1 , p. 15.
  93. Hans Albert : Joseph Ratzinger Salvation of Christianity: Restrictions on the Use of Reason in the Service of Religious Faith . Aschaffenburg 2008, ISBN 978-3-86569-037-1 , p. 36.
  94. Hans Albert : Joseph Ratzinger Salvation of Christianity: Restrictions on the Use of Reason in the Service of Religious Faith . Aschaffenburg 2008, ISBN 978-3-86569-037-1 , p. 83.
  95. Ban Ki-moon on Benedict XVI: "A great man of faith" . Vatican Radio (German edition). Retrieved March 3, 2013.
  96. Jesus of Nazareth: First part. From the baptism in the Jordan to the transfiguration .
  97. ^ Klaus Berger : An emergency for the exegetes . In: Rheinischer Merkur , May 24, 2007
  98. Wolfgang Stegemann: Jesus and his time . 2010, p. 220
  99. WJC weren: The Pope's book Jesus and the Christologies of the gospels . HTS Theologiese Studies / Theological Studies, 67 (1), Art. # 831, 2011, (PDF)
  100. Introduction to Christianity , p. 186
  101. Answers to questions about some aspects of doctrine about the Church .
  102. Vatican emphasizes the uniqueness of the Catholic Church . In: Neue Zürcher Zeitung , July 11, 2007.
  103. ^ A b Matthias Drobinski : Setback for the ecumenical movement . In: Süddeutsche Zeitung , July 11, 2007.
  104. Russian Orthodox praise the honesty of the Vatican's understanding of the church . RIA Novosti, July 11, 2007
  105. Full text of the address in Regensburg (September 12, 2006) on the Vatican website :
  106. ↑ In addition Werner Thiede : The crucified reason . The Regensburg Pope Lecture in the mirror of Wolfgang Huber's reply. In: ders. (Ed.): The Pope from Bavaria . Leipzig 2010, pp. 131–150.
  107. Open letter from Islamic scholars to Pope Benedict XVI. - Source:
  108. Benedict XVI .: Light of the World: The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times - A conversation with Peter Seewald . Città del Vaticano / Freiburg 2010, p. 124.
  109. Cardinal Lehmann is skeptical about dialogue with Islam. In: RP Online . December 28, 2006, accessed February 4, 2015 .
  110. ^ Vatican Radio - News Archive . 4th February 2015.
  111. Martin Zöller: Vatican and Iranian theologians lay down common principles . In: Die Welt , May 3, 2008.
  112. ^ First papal visit to a synagogue in Germany . Welt online , August 19, 2005.
  113. Johannes Nitschmann: Benedict warns of new anti-Semitism . In: Süddeutsche Zeitung , August 19, 2005.
  114. Visit to the Cologne synagogue . In: Berliner Morgenpost , August 19, 2005.
  115. The Pope visits the Cologne synagogue. Bowing Benedict to the victims of the Holocaust . In: Neue Zürcher Zeitung , August 20, 2005.
  116. ^ Pope visits synagogue in Cologne. Gesture of interfaith dialogue . In: Neue Zürcher Zeitung , August 19, 2005.
  117. World Youth Day. Prayer in the synagogue. RP Online, August 19, 2005, accessed August 29, 2018 .
  118. Pope visits synagogue. “A great event for all of Jewry” . In: FAZ , August 19, 2008.
  119. Thomas Urban : Benedict XVI. in Poland. Silence at the last station . In: Süddeutsche Zeitung , May 28, 2006.
  120. Alexander Smoltczyk: The double silence . Spiegel Online , May 29, 2006.
  121. ^ Daniel Jonah Goldhagen: Benedict's failure . In: Die Welt , June 3, 2006.
  122. Address by Benedict XVI. To the members of the "Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations". Holy See Press Office, February 12, 2009, accessed December 6, 2018 .
  123. ^ David Rosen: The Latest Catholic-Jewish Crisis: Turning a Minus into a Plus. American Jewish Committee, archived from the original on March 2, 2009 ; accessed on April 2, 2018 .
  124. Benedict resignation: "He suffered a lot from some things" . Time online , February 11, 2013.
  125. Reaction: "Course of rapprochement" - Jewish voices on the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. In: Jüdische Allgemeine , February 14, 2013.
  126. Damage to the Judeo-Christian dialogue? Im Sturmzentrum Herder-Korrespondenz , 8/2018
  127. Benedict XVI. comments on the Christian-Jewish dialogue .
  128. Hollowed out. Ratzinger's new text on Judaism under fire , in: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung , July 13, 2018, p. 9.
  129. Benedict XVI. comments on his essay on Judaism .
  130. 'A mission of the Jews is not planned and not necessary.' from November 26, 2018
  131. ^ Estate of the excommunication Latae sententiae ., January 24, 2009.
  132. Benedict XVI .: Light of the World: The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times - A conversation with Peter Seewald . Città del Vaticano / Freiburg 2010, p. 38 f.
  133. Peter Wensierski: Problem for the Pope . In: Der Spiegel . No. 4 , 2009, p. 32 ( online ).
  134. Philip Willan: Pope readmits Holocaust-denying priest to the church . In: The Independent , January 25, 2009.
  135. Rachel Donadio: Pope clean States Four Excommunicated Bishops . In: The New York Times , January 24, 2009.
  136. ^ Peter Wensierski: Right-wing extremists celebrate Holocaust denier Williamson . Spiegel Online , January 26, 2009.
  137. Communiqué de presse de Mgr Fellay sur l'entretien de Mgr Williamson à la télévision suédoise (January 27, 2009) - DICI . July 26, 2013. Archived from the original on July 26, 2013.
  138. Holocaust Deniers. Pope appeased - muzzle for bishop . In: Süddeutsche Zeitung , January 28, 2009, accessed on January 29, 2009.
  139. Pope condemns denial of the Holocaust - "Jews were innocent victims". Vatican Radio, January 28, 2009, accessed April 2, 2018 .
  140. Vatican: "Pope did not know Williamson's statements"; Williamson must withdraw. Vatican Radio, February 4, 2009, accessed April 2, 2018 .
  141. ^ Note from the State Secretary on the four bishops of the Brotherhood of St. Pius X. , February 4, 2009
  142. ^ Peter Wensierski: The Vatican was informed about Holocaust denial earlier than known ; Spiegel Online from September 23, 2009
  143. ^ Ex-Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos attacks the Bishop of Stockholm . The September 24, 2009 standard
  144. Benedict XVI .: Light of the World: The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times - A conversation with Peter Seewald . Città del Vaticano / Freiburg 2010, p. 149
  145. ^ Criticism by the head of the German-language editorial team at Vatican Radio on NDR ( Memento from April 13, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  146. The president of the Jewish foundation “Pave the Way” opposes criticism of the Pope. In: . February 4, 2009, accessed February 4, 2015 .
  147. ^ Message to the Bishops of the Catholic Church regarding the lifting of the excommunication of the four bishops consecrated by Archbishop Lefebvre (March 10, 2009) - BENEDICT XVI. .
  148. Pope against "fashion change" . n-tv .de, May 8, 2005
  149. ^ Pope Benedict XVI .: Encyclical Caritas in veritate. The Holy See, June 29, 2009, German-language version, §§ 69 f., 75.
  150. ^ German Bundestag - Pope Benedict XVI. .
  151. ^ Speech of Pope Benedict XVI. in the German Bundestag on September 22, 2011. German Bundestag , archived from the original on February 15, 2013 ; accessed on April 2, 2018 .
  152. State visit | Wulff and Merkel receive the Pope from dpa, AFP and Reuters., September 22, 2011
  153. ^ Institute Pope Benedict XVI. - Current information single view .
  154. ^ Regensburg: Bishop Müller publishes "Collected Works" by Pope Benedict. December 7, 2007, archived from the original on January 18, 2009 ; accessed on April 2, 2018 .
  155. For example in his book The Spirit of the Liturgy . 6th edition, 2002, p. 68.
  156. From my life . Stuttgart 1998, p. 174.
  157. The Spirit of the Liturgy . 6th edition, 2002, p. 66 ff .; see. “To the opening volume of my writings” [= Vol. 11 of the Herder Complete Edition, Freiburg i. Br., 2 ° 2008, p. 7]: "The idea that priests and people should look at each other while praying only arose in modern times and was completely alien to ancient Christianity."
  158. The Spirit of the Liturgy . 6th edition, 2002, p. 70.
  159. The Spirit of the Liturgy . 6th edition, 2002, p. 69 f.
  160. The Spirit of the Liturgy . 6th edition, 2002, p. 70 f.
  161. The Spirit of the Liturgy . 6th edition, 2002, p. 73.
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  166. ^ Letter to the Archbishop of Freiburg and Chairman of the German Bishops' Conference, Dr. Robert Zollitsch (April 14, 2012) | BENEDICT XVI. Retrieved September 28, 2019 .
  167. Gotteslob (2013), No. 588.5, p. 666.
  168. Benedict XVI. carries a new cross staff Also in L'Osservatore Romano , 49/2009, p. 7.
  169. on the canonization of the martyrs of Otranto and the founders of the order Laura di Santa da Siena Montoya y Upegui (1874–1949) and María Guadalupe García Zavala (1878–1963), February 10, 2013
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  171. ^ Declaration of resignation in the original Latin Holy See, accessed on February 11, 2013
  172. and in German. , accessed on April 18, 2020
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  174. Keyword: the Pope's resignation from office . Vatican Radio
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  181. Surprise guest Benedict XVI. - Ordinary consistory for the creation of 19 cardinals . (Video) kathTube, February 22nd, 2014
  182. ^ Vi racconto mio primo anna papa . In: Corriere della Sera , March 5, 2014 (Italian)
  183. Benedict XVI. speaks about John Paul II. In: Domradio. Retrieved June 23, 2020 .
  184. Jörg Bremer : A visit to Father Benedikt. In: December 7, 2014.
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  189. Benedict XVI. criticizes excessively revealing society. In: April 11, 2019, accessed April 12, 2019 .
  190. ^ Criticism of the Benedict text: "Unworthy of Ratzinger". In: April 12, 2019, accessed April 12, 2019 .
  191. ↑ : Magnus Striet: Society is not to blame for the abuse crisis , April 11, 2019.
  192. "These are people who neither believe nor think". Retrieved May 9, 2019 .
  193. Benedict XVI. criticizes the incorrect reception of his April statements. Retrieved August 27, 2019 .
  194. Vatican: Benedict XVI. feels misunderstood in the abuse debate. In: Vatican News. August 26, 2019, accessed August 27, 2019 .
  195. Ex-Pope Benedict irritates with celibacy plea. In: Süddeutsche Zeitung , January 13, 2020.
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  197. KathPress: Benedict XVI .: I am not a co-author of Sarah's book. January 14, 2020, accessed January 14, 2020 .
  198. Benedict XVI .: I am not a co-author of Sarah's book. In: January 14, 2020, accessed January 14, 2020 .
  199. Patrick Zoll: Pope against Pope: In retirement, Benedict advocates celibacy and thus transmits his successor Francis., January 13, 2020, accessed on January 13, 2020 .
  200. Jan-Heiner Tück : Pope against Pope: That Benedict XVI. Commenting on celibacy narrows Francis' room for maneuver., January 15, 2020, accessed on January 15, 2020 .
  201. Michelle Olion / Ingo Brüggenjürgen: An assessment of the Benedict statements on celibacy: "He is pushed forward by his environment". January 13, 2020, accessed January 14, 2020 .
  202. Ex-Pope Benedict XVI. on criticism: "A malicious distortion of reality". In: Der Spiegel. Retrieved May 4, 2020 .
  203. Benedict XVI. in Regensburg: pilgrimage to the sickbed. In: June 22, 2020, accessed June 22, 2020 .
  204. Philipp Seitz: Benedict XVI. in Regensburg: pilgrimage to the sickbed. Perhaps the last time the pope emeritus visited his brother. In: June 22, 2020, accessed June 22, 2020 .
  205. "Pope brother" Georg Ratzinger in Regensburg died. In: Bayerischer Rundfunk . July 1, 2020, accessed July 1, 2020 .
  206. Benedict XVI. seriously ill - final resting place determined. Retrieved August 3, 2020 .
  207. Detailed official explanation of the coat of arms Benedict XVI.
  208. Explanations of the insignia . (PDF; 11 MB; p. 17) Diocese of Mainz; accessed March 22, 2013
  209. ^ Standard Swiss Guard ( Memento of April 8, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) under Benedict XVI.
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  211. Pope: Evolution presupposes creators., October 27, 2014, archived from the original on February 8, 2015 ; Retrieved February 8, 2015 .
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predecessor Office successor
Julius Cardinal Döpfner Archbishop of Munich and Freising
Friedrich Cardinal Weather
Franjo Cardinal Šeper Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
William Joseph Cardinal Levada
Cardinal Sebastiano Baggio Cardinal Bishop of Velletri-Segni
Francis Cardinal Arinze
Bernardin Cardinal Gantin Cardinal Dean  / Cardinal Bishop of Ostia
Angelo Cardinal Sodano
John Paul II CoA Benedictus XVI.svgPope