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Thursday, April 16, 2009


VATICAN CITY, 16 APR 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father will today celebrate his 82nd birthday in the Apostolic Palace of Castelgandolfo a few kilometres south of Rome where he is enjoying a brief period of rest following the ceremonies of Holy Week.

  Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. yesterday commented the circumstance by expressing the hope that the Holy Father "may long continue to carry out his ministry, ... helping the men and women of today to find God".

  "The focus of his concern", Fr. Lombardi continued his remarks, "is to bring mankind to God and God to mankind, through a great personal love for Christ. ... Despite the critical attitude it is necessary to adopt towards so many negative aspects of today's culture and mentality, in the final analysis the principle message [the Church] wishes to communicate is a message of love, a message for the good of mankind and of the human person; that is, their reconciliation with God and with all the other men and women who live on this earth".

  Joseph Aloysius Ratzinger, the name with which Benedict XVI was baptised, was born on 16 April 1927 in Marktl am Inn, Germany. From 1946 to 1951, the year in which he was ordained a priest and began to teach, he studied philosophy and theology at the University of Munich and at the higher school of philosophy and theology of Freising. In 1953 he obtained a doctorate in theology with a thesis entitled: "The People and House of God in St. Augustine's Doctrine of the Church." Four years later he qualified as a university teacher with a work on St. Bonaventure's theology of history.

  After a period of teaching dogma and fundamental theology at the higher school of philosophy and theology of Freising, he went on to teach in Bonn from 1959 to 1969, in Munster from 1963 to 1966, and in Tubinga from 1966 to 1969. In that year he was appointed professor of dogmatic theology and of the history of dogma at the University of Regensburg and vice president of the same university. In 1962, he made a noteworthy contribution to the work of Vatican Council II as theological consultant to Cardinal Joseph Frings, archbishop of Cologne.

  In 24 March 1977, Paul VI appointed him archbishop of Munich and Freising, making him a cardinal on 27 June 1977. In 1981 he was nominated by John Paul II as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Subsequently he also became president of the Pontifical Biblical Commission and of the Pontifical International Theological Commission, and dean of the College of Cardinals.

  He was elected as Pope on 19 April 2005, the second day of the conclave.
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VATICAN CITY, 16 APR 2009 (VIS) - The Pontifical Biblical Commission is due to celebrate its annual plenary meeting at the Vatican's "Domus Sanctae Marthae" from 20 to 24 April, under the presidency of Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Fr. Klemens Stock S.J., pro-secretary general of the commission, will oversee and direct the work of the assembly.

  This will be the first gathering of the Pontifical Biblical Commission since the partial renewal of its membership, in accordance with current norms. During the meeting attention will be given to a new study entitled "Inspiration and Truth of the Bible", the draft version of which has already been examined by the commission members.
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VATICAN CITY, 16 APR 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Archbishop Domenico Umberto D'Ambrosio of Manfredonia-Vieste-San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy, as metropolitan archbishop of Lecce (area 750, population 266,968, Catholics 265,568, priests 207, permanent deacons 38, religious 440), Italy. He succeeds Archbishop Cosmo Francesco Ruppi, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Archbishop Braulio Rodriguez Plaza of Valladolid, Spain, as archbishop of Toledo (area 19,333, population 655,000, Catholics 634,914, priests 467, religious 169), Spain.

 - Gave his assent to the canonical election by the Synod of Bishops of the Greek-Catholic Ukrainian Church of Fr. Yosyf Milan M.S.U., pastor of the cathedral of the Resurrection of the Lord, as auxiliary of the archieparchy of Kyiv (Catholics 240,000, priests 43, permanent deacons 9, religious 37), Ukraine. The bishop-elect was born in Dobryany, Ukraine in 1957 and ordained a priest in 1984.
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