DAILY CATHOLIC    FRI-SAT-SUN     October 1-3, 1999     vol. 10, no. 187

COLLEGE OF CARDINALS COLLECTION

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    INTRODUCTION
      Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday we spotlight each member of the Conclave in alphabetical order. We find this necessary as our dear Sovereign Pontiff Pope John Paul II grows older, clinging to hope, as we join him, of seeing the light of the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart with the dawn of the new millennium - the Jubilee Year 2000. How much longer this 264th successor of Peter has left on this earth only God knows for sure, but His Divine Mercy is evident in allowing him to be with us this long for he truly is a saint for our times, truly Christ's Vicar on earth in these waning days before the glorious Reign of the Sacred Heart, the Time of Peace, the Era of the Eucharistic Presence, the New Pentecost, the Second Advent, the Age of the Holy Spirit. What 1999 will bring we have no idea, nor does anyone else, but with John Paul II at the helm, we feel much more secure in knowing God's Will will be done. Nevertheless, we want to preview the future Pope whether that be soon or much, much later, for no one lives forever and eventually one of those prelates will be selected as the 265th successor of Peter. This will give the reader a better insight into the man whom the Holy Spirit will move the conclave to choose. Thus we bring the reader vignettes on each cardinal in alphabetical order gleaned from the Catholic Almanac, The Official Catholic Directory, Inside the Vatican and other sources.

105.   Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger

        Probably no cardinal is more well known today than Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, considered by so many the next in charge at the Vatican. The truth is, he is not the second in charge. That would be the Secretariat of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano but because of Cardinal Ratzinger's constant exposure by the media and his intricate involvement in papal documents and pronouncements he is seen as the Pope's right-hand man because he is rightfull the custodian of the faithfulness of the Dogmas and Doctrines of the Church.

        He was born in Marktl am Inn, Germany on April 16, 1927 and ordained a priest on June 29, 1951 at the age of 24. An exemplary student during his minor and major seminary days, he showed from the beginning of his priestly life the great mind God had gifted him with. This first came to light during his post-graduate studies in Rome with his thesis "People and House of God in Saint Augustine's Doctrine of the Church" which drew raves from professors and students alike in 1953.

        He became an even more familiar name in Vatican circles when, at only 35 years-old, he was appointed advisor for Cardinal Joseph Frings from Cologne at Vatican II. His involvement in the Council gave him new insight as to what the Council Fathers were really trying to do compared to the abuses that evolved after the Council. After the Second Vatican Council concluded he returned to Germany where he resumed teaching at several German universities, being named a member of the International Theological Commission by Paul VI and accepting a position at the University of Regensburg as Professor of Dogmatic Theology from 1969 until March 24, 1977 when the Pope elevated him to the episcopal ranks, making him Archbishop of Munich-Freising. He was installed two months later on May 28, 1977. A month later he was honored again by the Holy Father when Paul VI named him in his final Consistory of June 27, 1977. Receiving the cardinalate, Cardinal Ratzinger was given the titular church of St. Mary of Consolation in Tiburtina.

        On November 25, 1981 Pope John Paul II summoned Cardinal Ratzinger to the Vatican where he announced that he would become the new Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, probably the one Sacred Congregation closest and dearest to this Pope's heart. Cardinal Ratzinger resigned his position as Archbishop on February 15, 1982 and returned permanently to the Holy See where he took up residence and set about supervising this most important curial office. He was named President of the Biblical and Tehological Commission shortly thereafter and has had his pulse on a plethora of congregations and Pontifical Councils with membership in the Second Section of the Secretariat of State, the Congregation for Bishops, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the Congregation for Oriental Churches, the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, and the Congregation for Catholic Education as well as the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Pontifical Council for Culture plus the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.

        When he received his red-hat he was only 50 years-old and still a relatively young 54 years-old when promoted to Prefect. Many considered him papal material but he has grown older along with the Pope who is only seven years older than Cardinal Ratzinger. It would seem this "second Pope" as many have termed Cardinal Ratzinger was the perfect choice by John Paul II to perpetuate his strong catechetical teaching and policies that fry liberals because of the staunch conservative element at the top in the Holy Father and Cardinal Ratzinger, the man entrusted with enforcing the Dogmas and Doctrines of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

October 1-3, 1999       volume 10, no. 187
COLLEGE OF CARDINALS COLLECTION

DAILY CATHOLIC

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