Pope Benedict XVI

VATICAN CITY (CNN) -- Wearing traditional papal robes and a large smile, Joseph Ratzinger of Germany appeared Tuesday on a Vatican balcony as the 265th pontiff, Benedict XVI, as tens of thousands gathered in St. Peter's Square to cheer him.

"Dear brothers and sisters, after our great pope, John Paul II, the cardinals have elected me, a simple, humble worker in God's vineyard," according to a translation of remarks he made in Italian. "I am consoled by the fact that the Lord knows how to work and how to act, even with insufficient tools, and I especially trust in your prayers.

"In the joy of the resurrected Lord, trustful of his permanent help, we go ahead, sure that God will help. And Mary, his most beloved mother, stands on our side."

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          Elected 265th pope (April 19, 2005)          
Pope Benedict XVI was born on April 16, 1927 in Marktl am Inn, Germany.
He was ordained a priest on June 29, 1951.
His father, a police officer, came from traditional family of farmers from Lower Bavaria.  He spent his adolescent years in Traunstein, and was called into the auxiliary anti-aircraft service in the last months of World War II.  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 in Fising.  In 1953, he obtain 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.  He then taugh dogma and fundamental theology at the higher school of philosophy and theology of Freising; then in Bonn from 1959 to  1969, Munster from 1966 to 1969.  From 1969; he was a professor of dogmatic theology and of the history of dogma at the University of Regensburg and Vice President of the same university.
Already in 1962 he was well known when, at the age of 35, he became a consultor at Vatican Council II, of the Archbishop of Cologne, Cardinal Joseph Frings.  Among his numerous publications; a particular post belongs to the "Introduction to Christianity", a collection of University lessons on the profession of apostolic faith, published in 1968, Dogma and revelation, an anthology of essays, sermons and reflections dedicated to the pastoral ministry, published in 1973.
In March 1977, Pope Paul VI elected him Archbishop of Munich and Freising and on May 28, 1977 he was consecrated, the first diocesan priest after 80 years to take over the pastoral ministry of this large Bavarian diocese.  Paul VI elevated him to the College of Cardinals in the consistory of June 27, 1977.
Titular churches, suburbicarian see of Velletri-Segni April 5, 1993) and suburbicarian see of Ostia (November 30, 2002).  On November 25, 1981 he was nominated by John Paul II Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; President of the Biblical Commission and of the Pontifical International Theological Commission Relator of the 5th General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (1980).  President Delegate to the 6th Synodal Assembly (1983).
Elected Vice Dean of the College of Cardinals, November 6, 1998.  On November 30, 2002, the Holy Father approved the election, by the order of Cardinal bishops as Dean of the College of Cardinals.  President of the commission for the Preparation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and after 6 years of work (1986-1992) he presented the New Catechism to the Holy Father.  Laurea Honoris Universita Maria Satissima Assunta, November 10, 1999.
Honorary Member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, November 13, 2000.
Curial Memberships:
Secretariat of State (second section)
Oriental Churches, Divine Worship and sacraments, Bishops, Evangelization of Peoples, Catholic Education (Congregations), Christian unity, Culture (councils), Latin America, Ecclesia Dei (commissions)
source: CNS/Nancy Wiechec; Catholic News Service (www. nccbuscc .org)