Saint Peter, ancestor of the popes
The lineage of the popes goes back to Peter, whose role was to preside over the unity of the Church, as St. Matthew says: “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church … I will give you the keys from the Kingdom of Heaven “(Mt 16. 18-19). It is in Alexandria in 306 that we meet for the first time the word pope to designate a religious leader. This title was awarded to Bishop Peter of Alexandria.
Benedict XVI, 265th to exercise the Pope’s office
Habemus papam! Our current pope, Benedict XVI, was elected on April 19, 2005, after four rounds of voting and a conclave that lasted a little over 24 hours, and as is the tradition, the white smoke escaping from the roof of the Sistine Chapel which formalizes its enthronement. He becomes the 265th Pope and the 8th German Pope in history. At 78, he is the oldest pope when he took office, since Clement XII in 1730.
A pope to guide Catholics
He explains the choice of his name: ” I chose the name Benedict in reference to Benedict XV, who guided the Church in the difficult period of the First World War. In his footsteps, I wish to participate in reconciliation and harmony between men and between peoples “but also refers to Benedict of Nursia, founder of the Benedictine order:” The name of Benedict also evokes the father of Western monasticism, co-patron of Europe, particularly venerated in my country and especially in Bavaria. St. Benedict of Nursia had inscribed in his rule not to put anything above Christ. We will therefore ask Him to help us to keep our gaze fixed on Christ. “
On that day he pronounced these words: ” Dear brothers and sisters, after the great Pope John Paul II, the Cardinals elected me, a simple and humble worker in the vineyard of the Lord. The fact that the Lord knows how to work and act also with insufficient instruments consoles me and above all, I put myself back to your prayers, in the joy of the Risen Christ, trusting in his constant help. We are going forward, the Lord will help us and Mary, His Most Holy Mother, is on our side. Thank you. “
A pope who loves the traditions of the church
Joseph was born on April 16, 1927 in Marktl am Inn in Germany. Member of the Hitler Youth (at the time obligatory) during the war, he then studied philosophy and theology in Munich. Ordained priest, he then becomes a teacher and doctor of theology.
Paul VI made him cardinal in 1977 and in 1981 he was appointed by John Paul II Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He also chairs the Commission for the preparation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church from 1986 to 1992 and presents as such the new catechism to John Paul II.
Until then known as Cardinal Ratzinger, he is considered the leader of conservative Catholics, who are reassured by his doctrinal intransigence, especially after the reign of John Paul II, often considered too progressive and open to dialogue with other religions.
Indeed, Benedict XVI is fiercely opposed to homosexuality, abortion, contraception (especially condoms, even when it comes to AIDS) and women priests, so many “sensitive” subjects within Catholic Church. He wants to put forward the notions of marriage and family and also preaches the celibacy of priests. He wishes to restore the meaning of the Eucharist, is open to Opus Dei as well as to fundamentalists. We also note that dialogue with Islam is not one of his priorities.