House where Pope Benedict XVI was born
in Marktl am Inn, Germany, on April 16, 1927
According to the German newspaper Bild
am Sonntag, citing archival documents, the above advertisements were
placed by 43-year-old Joseph Ratzinger, Sr. Maria Peintner responded
to the advertisement, and the pope's parents were married on November 9,
1920. According to Altöttinger Liebfrauenbote, Pope Benedict
XVI is still a subscriber.
March, 1920, advertisement in Bavarian
diocesan newspaper Altöttinger Liebfrauenbote (Altötting Messenger of
Our Dear Lady):
"...low-level civil servant"
seeks "a good Catholic girl who can cook and sew a bit...to marry as
soon as possible, preferably with a picture."
"Lower-level state civil servant, unmarried, cath. 43 yrs, with
pension entitlement, seeks good cath. girl who can cook and also sew a
little, with trousseau and a little wealth, for marriage as soon as
July, 1920, advertisement in Altöttinger
servant" with "irreproachable past" seeks "a good
Catholic girl, who can cook and sew a bit...to marry as soon as possible,
preferably with a picture." The advertisement said it was
"desirable" that his bride have some money, but it was "not
a condition" of marriage.
Another translation: "Middle
ranking civil servant, single, Catholic, 43-years-old, immaculate past,
from the countryside, is seeking a good Catholic pure girl, who can cook
well, and who can do all housework, who is also capable of sewing and a
good homemaker in order to marry at the soonest opportunity.
Personal fortune would be desirable but is not however a
XVI was born Joseph Alois Ratzinger on April 16, 1927, in the
above house in Marktl am Inn, Germany, a 77% Catholic Bavarian town near
the Austrian border and lived here until he was two years old. Pope
Benedict XVI's 1745 house is at the end of Main Street and was once lived
in by Johann Georg Lankensperger who invented the maneuverable front axle
in 1816. The owner said upon hearing of Pope Benedict XVI's
election, "Oh my! Now I have to take a vacation day and fix up the
house!" The house has since been deeded to the Archdiocese of
Munich which has opened the house to the public.
Weideneder Brau Vertriebs GmbH, a
family-owned brewery in nearby Tann, Germany, has created a special brew
called Pabstbier/Pope Beer. The label reads,
"Dedicated to the Great Son of our Homeland, Pope Benedict
XVI." The tavern owner across the street from Pope Benedict XVI's homestead is very happy.
XVI was the youngest of three children whose father, Joseph
Sr., was a police officer. His brother, Monsignor Georg Ratzinger,
is a retired priest who was Music Director at Regensburg Cathedral until
1994, and his sister, Maria, was Pope Benedict XVI's housekeeper until her
death at age 69 on November 2, 1991. Pope Benedict XVI's mother's
maiden name was Maria Peintner. Mr. and Mrs. Ratzinger and Maria Ratzinger
are buried in Ziegetsdorf Cemetery in Pentling, Germany. The Pope
and Monsignor Ratzinger visited their parents and sister's graves on
Wednesday, September 13, 2006. A photograph of Mr. Ratzinger as a
police officer hangs on the wall in the above photograph.
August 21, 2008, Pope Benedict XVI's brother, Monsignor Georg Ratzinger,
was made an honorary citizen of Castel Gandolfo, the pope's summer
residence, for his 84th birthday. "From the
beginning of my life my brother has always been, not only a companion for
me, but a trustworthy guide, a point of reference with the clarity and
determination of his decisions. He showed me the road to take even
in difficult situations. We have arrived at the last stage of our
lives, at old age, and the days left to live grow progressively fewer, but
even at this stage as well, my brother helps me to accept with serenity,
humility, and courage the weight of each day. For this, I thank
him." Monsignor Ratzinger lives in Regensburg, Germany,
and spends summers with the pope.
In 1945 during World War II, Pope Benedict XVI deserted from the German
army and was a United States prisoner of war.
Monsignor Georg Ratzinger explained,
"The State ordered all school age kids, according to their age, to be
signed up for certain youth groups. It was obligatory. We were
registered as a block. There was no freedom to choose, and not showing up
would have brought very negative consequences." Monsignor
Ratzinger said Pope Benedict XVI did not attend Hitler Youth meetings.
Pope Benedict XVI's father said Nazism
was, "a catastrophe and not only the great enemy of the Church but
also of all faiths and of human life in general."
XVI (first from right) was ordained a priest on June 29, 1951,
and proclaimed cardinal on June 27, 1977 by Pope Paul VI.
Before becoming pope, Pope Benedict XVI was a theology professor
at the University of Regensburg, Archbishop of Munich and Freising,
Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Dean of the
College of Cardinals. His 1953 doctoral thesis was entitled, The People
and House of God in Saint Augustine’s Doctrine of the Church.
Cardinal Ratzinger made retreats at Roman Benedictine monasteries.
After purchasing his land, Pope Benedict XVI designed his home in
Pentling to include a chapel. Pope Benedict XVI could walk from his
home in Pentling to his teaching duties at Regensburg University in
Pope John Paul II called Cardinal
Ratzinger to the Vatican in 1981, and Cardinal Ratzinger and Pope John
Paul II had weekly 90-minute meetings followed by lunch. The two
spoke in German.
On a visit to the Vatican library, Pope Benedict XVI said wistfully: "At
the end of my 70th year of age, I would have liked it very much
if the beloved Pope John Paul II would have allowed me to dedicate myself
to the study and research of the interesting documents and items you
carefully safeguard. The Lord had other plans for me, and here I am
among you, not as a passionate scholar of ancient texts, but as the pastor
called to encourage all the faithful to cooperate for the salvation of the
world. Each one does God's will where He places us to work."
XVI chose the name Benedict after Saint Benedict of Norcia,
Patron Saint of Italy, who founded the monastic Rule in the sixth century.
"He represents a fundamental point of reference for the unity of
Europe and a strong reminder of the unrenounceable Christian roots of its
culture and civilization," said Pope Benedict XVI.
of the Virgin of the Guard, in the mountains overlooking Genoa, Italy, was
replicated at the Vatican (picture) by Pope Benedict XV who was from
Genoa. "I myself pray every day in front of that statue,"
said Pope Benedict XVI.
Pope Benedict XVI's email addresses:
XVI is fluent in German, English, Italian, French, and Spanish
and has knowledge of Portuguese. Pope Benedict XVI can also speak
Although the pope reads several
languages, the email addresses are different because the email messages
are screened by the pope's assistants who may only read in the language of
the email. The assistants forward a synopsis of the email or the
full email onto the pope or answer the email themselves whichever is
Cardinal Ratzinger at the piano
XVI relaxes by playing the piano for a half hour each evening
and listening to Mozart and Bach usually daily. Of Mozart, Pope
Benedict XVI said, “His music is by no means just entertainment.
It contains the whole tragedy of human existence.” Pope Benedict
XVI said that Mozart “thoroughly penetrated” his soul in his
growing-up years in the 1920s and 1930s in rural Bavaria, near Salzburg,
Austria, Mozart’s birthplace.
XVI is concerned about the welfare of animals. "That
is a very serious question. At any rate, we can see that they are given
into our care, that we cannot just do whatever we want with them. Animals,
too, are God's creatures . . . Certainly, a sort of industrial use of
creatures, so that geese are fed in such a way as to produce as large a
liver as possible, or hens live so packed together that they become just
caricatures of birds, this degrading of living creatures to a commodity
seems to me in fact to contradict the relationship of mutuality that comes
across in the Bible," said Pope Benedict XVI.
Catholic Beatle Paul McCartney praised Pope Benedict XVI's strong stand against
cruelty to animals, including factory farming. "God bless him.
That certainly is a basic tenet of the Catholic religion."
Monsignor Georg Ratzinger described Pope
Benedict XVI's childhood: "I remember him as always being
joyful. From that time he showed a great sensitivity to animals,
flowers, and in general to all nature. Perhaps that's why he was always
given pets as Christmas gifts. His care for nature and for living beings
was characteristic of him."
XVI is a cat lover who has two cats, but no pets are allowed in
the Apostolic Palace. One of his cats Pope Benedict XVI found as a
stray in Rome. The Vatican isn't saying whether Pope Benedict XVI
brought his cats with him to live at the Vatican.
Benedict XVI visited his house in Pentling, Germany, September
13, 2006, Rubert Hofbauer, the pope's next door neighbor, who cares for
the pope's house now that the Holy Father is in Vatican City, set the
pope's table with several jars of honey from the bees Mr. Hofbauer
keeps in the pope's garden. "I know he misses his house dearly,
and he told me so when I visited him in Rome. He asked after his
garden, the flowers, even the bees, and after our two animals, Chico, the
cat, and Igor, the Golden Retriever." Chico visited Pope
Benedict XVI often when the pope lived in his Pentling, Germany,
home. Chico has written a children's book about his
relationship with Pope Benedict XVI.
and Chico: The Life of Pope Benedict XVI As Told By A Cat is a
book for elementary school children which tells the story of the life of
Pope Benedict XVI when he was growing up in Bavaria, Germany. The
story is told by Pope Benedict XVI's next-door neighbor in Pentling,
Germany, Chico, the cat, who would visit Pope Benedict XVI often.
Pope Benedict XVI is a cat lover who fed stray cats in Rome and brought
one Roman stray cat home with him when he was a cardinal. The
Vatican doesn't allow animals, but when asked whether Pope
Benedict XVI brought his two cats with him when he moved into the
Vatican, the Vatican had no comment. The Introduction is by
Monsignor Georg Gänswein, Pope Benedict XVI's personal secretary.
European book cover
While in Australia for World Youth Day
2008, Pope Benedict XVI, an animal lover, petted a koala bear and
scratched behind its ears. The pope also saw a wallaby, a baby
crocodile and a spiky echidna, all animals native to Australia brought to
the pope from the Taronga Zoo.
What does Pope
Benedict XVI miss from Bavaria? Adelholzener fruit
nectar, Bavarian sausage from Franziskaner, his favorite restaurant,
Advent wreaths, and Bavarian Christmas trees. His long-time friend,
Munich banker Thaddaeus Joseph Kuehnel, loads up his car with Pope
Benedict XVI's favorites and drives to Rome. "My best driving record
was eight hours, now it takes me 10."
Pope Benedict XVI loves mozzarella
cheese made from buffalo milk which is sent by the bishops in the Campania
region of Italy as a gift to the pope. The Campania region is said
to produce the best buffalo mozzarella. Usually mozzarella is made
from cow's milk.
XVI still has the stuffed animals his mother made for him when
he was a child. Pope Benedict XVI's favorite meal is Bavarian potato
ravioli with pancake strips.
Aschau am Inn, a town east of Munich in
Bavaria, Germany, made Pope Benedict XVI
an honorary citizen. The Holy Father moved to Aschau am Inn in 1932 when
he was five years old, attended school there until 1937 when his father
retired, made his First Holy Communion in Aschau Am Inn, and remembered
bike rides with his mother, and helping neighbors herd cows. The pope told
the town mayor and former classmates and friends who attended the ceremony
at a private audience on October 4, 2006, in Pope Paul VI Hall that he
greatly appreciated the honor and still considers Aschau am Inn his home.
4 million people were in attendance at Pope Benedict XVI's audiences, Masses and
other celebrations during his first year as pontiff.
an Italian cobbler in Novara, Italy, makes Pope Benedict XVI's red shoes
from calf or kid leather for the winter and from nappa leather for the
summer. Antonio Arellano, a Peruvian shoemaker in Borgo, the
medieval quarter next to Saint Peter's Square, repairs Pope Benedict XVI's
German firm Schildkroet, and Offermann
doll hospital, have created a 16-inch doll of Pope Benedict XVI wearing
white papal vestments. "Its arms and legs can be moved, and its
clothes are of a high quality and correspond exactly to the originals of
the Holy Father," said Schildkroet. Only 999 dolls have been
produced, are numbered, and sell for €139.
Monsignor Georg Gänswein, Pope Benedict
XVI's personal secretary, said the German pope is overwelmed by the
affectionate nature of the Italian language, but he is learning to be
responsive, including talking with his hands.
Fun Fact about Pope Benedict XVI:
Pope Benedict XVI has a pilot's license for the papal helicopter and
likes to fly from the Vatican to the papal summer residence, Castel
Gandolfo, but the pope does not have a driver's license as he never
learned to drive a car. In Germany, the costs for driver's education
and driver's license fees are in the thousands of euros, so the pope
decided to walk.
Pope Benedict XVI said organ donation is
"an act of love," and he carries his donar card with him at all
Pope Benedict XVI on prejudice:
"Tragically, cultural and ethnic differences throughout history have
not infrequently been a source of misunderstanding and friction. The
family home is where children learn the essential values of responsibility
and harmonious coexistence. It is here too that prejudices are either born
or broken. Every parent therefore has the grave duty to instill in their
children, through example, respect for the dignity that marks every person
regardless of ethnicity, religion, or social grouping."
In speaking to a gathering of 400
priests, Pope Benedict XVI said, "I used to be stricter."
The pope said he now gravitates more to Christ's mercy.
Pope Benedict XVI 80th
birthday cake at the Vatican
Pope Benedict XVI's 81st
birthday cake at the White House in Washington, D. C.
Pope Benedict XVI's 83rd birthday cake at
Pope Benedict XVI cruises in Sydney
Harbor during World Youth Day 2008
Church of Santo Spirito in Bressanone,
Italy, where Pope Benedict XVI spent his 2008 summer vacation. Pope
Benedict XVI vacationed in the German-speaking alps in the northern
Italian region of Trentino-Alto Adige in the Diocese of Bolzano-Bressanone
from July 28 to August 11, 2008.
Pope Benedict XVI greets the faithful
while on vacation in Bressanone in the Alpine Mountains of northern Italy
in July, 2008
Pope Benedict XVI vacationing in July,
2008, Bressanone, a German speaking Alpine village in northern Italy that
once belonged to Austria. Seated to the pope's right is his brother
Father Georg Ratzinger and seated to the pope's left is his secretary,
Father Georg Gaenswein.
Pope Benedict XVI and his brother,
Monsignor Georg Ratzinger, vacation in the Italian Alps
Upon visiting the hamlet of Oies in the
Alps, the birthplace of Saint Joseph Freinademetz who was a missionary to
China, Pope Benedict XVI said of China, "It is important for this
great country to open itself to the Gospel."
Alessia Giuliani/Catholic Press
Sunday, January 25, general audience
Redemptorist Office of Mission
On behalf of the United States,
President Barack Obama presented this Redemptionist Saint John Neumann,
Archdiocese of Philadelphia bishop from 1852 to 1860, stole to Pope
Benedict XVI during the president's Friday, July 10, audience with the
pope. Pope Benedict XVI gave President Obama a mosaic of Saint
Peter's, his fifth anniversary medal, and an autographed copy of the
encyclical Caritas in Veritate.
Pope Benedict XVI thanks staff as he
leaves hospital with a broken wrist. The pope had two metal pins
inserted into his wrist bone after a nighttime fall in his bedroom while
on vacation in the Alps.
"Some suffering is not a bad
thing," said Pope Benedict XVI.
"Unfortunately my own guardian
angel did not prevent my injury, certainly following superior
orders. Perhaps the Lord wanted to teach me more patience and
humility, give me more time for prayer and meditation," said Pope
Benedict XVI regarding his fall which resulted in a broken wrist.
Pope Benedict XVI returns to his Alpine
chalet after his right wrist was set in a cast.
On April 17 and 18, 2010, Pope Benedict
XVI spent 27 hours in Malta to celebrate the 1,950th anniversary
of Saint Paul's shipwreck on the Island of Malta and the beginning of
Christianity in Malta. "Life's shipwrecks can be part of God's plan
for us, and they may also be useful for new beginnings in our lives,"
said Pope Benedict XVI. While in Malta, Pope Benedict XVI met with,
and cried with, abuse victims. Malta has a population of 443,000,
95% of whom are Catholic. On April 18, Pope Benedict XVI celebrated
an open-air Mass in Floriana, Malta, and met with young people in the Port
of Valletta. The pope also met with the bishops and Maltese
President George Abela.
Pope Benedict XVI Pilgrimage to America
Pope Benedict XVI Coat of Arms
My Cousin the Pope
Pope Benedict XVI Messages
and Catholic Pontiffs