THE HOLY FATHER - 60 YEARS A PRIEST
Church Celebrates Pope Benedict XVI’s Ordination to the Priesthood 60 Years Ago
On 29th June, 1961 Joseph Alois Ratzinger and his older brother George, were ordained to the Priesthood in the Cathedral of Freising in Bavaria Germany.
Now 83 Years old, Father Joseph Ratzinger, later Bishop, Cardinal and finally Pope Benedict XVI has much to reflect upon. His service in the Lord’s vineyard has been truly remarkable including time as one of the Periti or experts at the Second Vatican Council, his time as a University Professor during the 1968 student “madness” which nearly brought down the French Government and reduced Universities around much of Europe to anarchic shambles. Later still, he spent 25 years as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith working as Blessed Pope John Paul II’s “Right Hand Man” drawing the world’s lightning whilst the then Holy Father went out into the deep to evangelise and to teach.
Through all of that long period, Cardinal Ratzinger’s gentle but firm protection of the Truth was an inspiration and re-assurance to the faithful, despite error and craziness which so often swirled about them in the local churches.
Since becoming Pope he has certainly shown himself to be the Pope of Christian Unity and has been powerful in his efforts to reform the Sacred Liturgy and restore the Extraordinary Form to its rightful place in the Church. He has begun, most recently, to reform the College of Bishops, both by deposition of defective incumbents and by tending to reach into younger ranks for candidates for vacant Sees. And as late as the eve of his Ordination Anniversary the Holy Father used his newly received I Pad Tablet to announce the launch of the new VATICAN NEWS internet Portal He is leaving no opportunity missed in his efforts to stimulate the New Evangelisation
The worldly “lightning” which the then Cardinal Ratzinger drew upon himself to leave Blessed John Paul II free to move into “the world ” teaching and evangelizing, has tended to follow him still, as Pope. AAs we noted recently, at least one commentator has noted Pope Benedict XVI lacks a “Ratzinger”- that is, someone to operate as he did for Blessed John Paul II.
Yet, the man ordained on the Feast of Saint Peter and Saint Paul 60 years ago, has continued to act with marvelous effectiveness. His Apostolic Voyages to the United States and more recently to Scotland and England have been brilliant in their success and continuing effect. His Encyclicals have helped to focus the attention of all on the significance of God’s Love, on Christian Hope and on the importance of Love and Truth for human development.
His bold action by Motu Proprio to establish Ordinariate structures for Anglicans wishing to be received into the Church has been a masterstroke, cutting through the compromising language and thought into which much Ecumenism had descended .It shines the light of Truth onto the genuine purpose of Ecumenism: the reality of the need for unity in Truth in Christ’s Catholic Church.
Small wonder that there are so many celebrations of this gentle, scholarly, saintly Priest and Pontiff’s Ordination Anniversary. God Bless and Protect him and give strength to his arm to continue long in your devoted service.