On March 12, Tuesday, the College of Cardinals will once again convene for the conclave (where they will elect the new pope) following the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI last month. But before we welcome the Church’s new pope, let us first take a short look back of the short yet memorable Papal years of Pope Benedict XVI.
About eight years ago, on April 19, 2005, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger who was then the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was elected the Roman Catholic Church’s 265th pontiff and successor of Pope John Paul II. The oldest and first German pope to be elected, Ratzinger chose the name Benedict XVI. Five days after that, he celebrated his first Mass as the new Pope at the World Youth’s Day in Germany. On that same year, in November, Congregation for Catholic Education issues a directive banning gays or “those who practise homosexuality, show profoundly deep-rooted homosexual tendencies, or support the so-called gay culture” to enter the Seminary and Holy Orders.
In September 2006, during his trip to his homeland, Bavaria, Pope Benedict XVI earned the ire of Muslims around the world after he quoted 14th-century Byzantine emperor who once said “Islam had only brought evil to the world”. To mend the “misunderstanding” with the Muslims, he went for a visit to Turkey and joins a prayer facing Mecca at the country’s Blue Mosque.
In his first trip to South America in May, the former Pope canonizes the first native-born saint in Brazil. His trip to the country though sparked controversy when on the plane he warns the politicians in Brazil to be excommunicated from the Catholic Church if they support abortion rights.
On March 10, Pope Benedict XVI introduced seven modern-day deadly sins which included genetic manipulation and environmental pollution. On that same year he also have had several trips around the world, such as the United States and Australia.
With hopes to reach out to more Catholics around the globe, the Vatican launched its own YouTube channel. A day after the launching, Pope Benedict XVI lifted excommunications of four bishops who were considered ultra-traditionalist, which include a Holocause denier. On Christmas Eve that year, a woman knocks down the Pope after she jumped the barriers in the St. Peter’s Basilica.
During his trip in Spain in November, Pope Benedict XVI saw the rise of sentiments against the chuch, where he also spoke out against gay marriage and abortion. On that same year, the former pope said in a new book how condoms can be justified (for male prositutes who seek to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS).
For the World Youth Day in Spain, Pope Benedict XVI encouraged the thousands of youth gathered in the event to avoid temptation.
Pope Benedict XVI named seven new saints which included two Americans, nun Marianne Cope and Native American Kateri Tekakwitha, and Filipino, Pedro Calungsod.
The papal years of Benedict XVI may have been marked by many controversies and changes, but these still makes him one memorable pope. Looking through these years, we get a glimpse of the short yet colourful service the former pope has done.