Augenblicke der Besinnung

Der Geist ist die Kraft in uns,
die uns hilft,
Jesus zu erkennen,
zu lieben,
ihn in unser Herz zu lassen
und immer neu aus ihm
die Vergebung der Sünden
zu empfangen.

Bischof Stefan Oster

Benedict XVI.



Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger was born on April 16th, 1927 in Marktl am Inn. After the studies of philosophy and theology in Freising and Munich he received the ordination of priests on June 29th, 1951 in Freising. Then he worked as a substitute priest in Munich-Moosach (parish St. Martin) and as chaplain in Munich-Bogenhausen (parish Hl. Blut).

From 1952 to 1954 he was a lecturer in the clerical seminar of the arch bishop in Friesing, then lecturer for dogmatism and fundamental theology at the philosophical-theological college Freising. In 1957 Joseph Ratzinger habilitated at the University Munich with a study about Bonaventura in the subject of fundamental theology. During the following years he worked as associate professor for dogmatism and fundamental theology at the philosophical-theological college Freising and as professor for fundamental theology at the University Bonn.

From 1962 to 1965 he was an official council theologian (Peritus) of the second Vatican Council. He became professor for dogmatism and dogma history at the University Münster in 1963. After 1966 he held the same position at the University Tübingen, from 1969 to 1977 ultimately at the University Regensburg. He became vice president there in 1976. On March 25th, 1977 Joseph Ratzinger was pronounced arch bishop of Munich and Freising, the inauguration took place three days later.

On June 27th, 1977 he was promoted to Cardinal by Paul VI.  1981 Pope Johannes Paul II. appointed his as prefect of the congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome and as president of the papal Bible commission and the international theology commission. From 1986 to 1992 the Cardinal led the papal commission for the creation of the "Catechism of the Catholic Church".

1993 he was promoted to Cardinal Bishop of the suburbican diocese Velltri-Segni in the consistorium of April 5th, 1993 by Pope Johannes Paul II. In 1998 Johannes Paul II. confirmed his election as vice deacon of the cardinal collegiate on November 9th, 1998 by Pope Johannes Paul II., in  2002 he became deacon of the cardinal collegiate.

Cardinal Ratzinger received numerous awards. He is a member of the Vatican state secretary’s office (II. Section: Relations to the states), in the congregation for the Churches of the Orient, the congregation for church services and the sacrament order, the congregation for the bishops, the congregation for the evangelisation of the peoples and the congregation for catholic education.

Further, he belongs to the papal council to promote the Unity of Christians, the papal council for culture, the papal commission for Latin America and the papal commission "Ecclesia Dei". In 2000, Pope Johannes Paul II. called him to the Papal academy of sciences as honorary member.