This week the church celebrates two anniversaries: Pope Benedict’s 85th birthday and, on the 19th of April, the 7th anniversary of his election to the papacy!

Here is what the Director of the Holy See Press Office Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi writes in an editorial about these two anniversaries:

85 years of age and 7 years as Pope. When, already advanced in age, Card. Joseph Ratzinger was elected Pope many wondered if after years marked by the infirmity of his great predecessor, his papacy would be as strong and durable as hoped for, and whether a theologian who had led a specifically doctrinal Dicastery for such a long time would know how to undertake the very different task of the pastoral governance of the Universal Church.
In these seven years we have had 23 international trips to 23 countries and 26 different trips to Italy, we have witnessed four synods of bishops and three World Youth Days, we have read three encyclicals and received countless other addresses and magisterial acts, we have participated in a Pauline Year and a Year for Priests, we saw the Pope to face with courage, humility and determination – that is, with a clear evangelical spirit – difficult situations, like the crisis of sexual abuse. We read – something new and original – in his work on Jesus of Nazareth and his book-length interview “Light of the world.” Above all, we have learned from the coherence and consistency of his teaching that the priority of his service to the Church and to humanity is to guide lives to God, the God who was made known by Jesus Christ, that faith and reason help each other in seeking the truth and respond to the expectations and demands of each one of us and humanity as a whole, that the marginalisation of God and relativism are serious dangers of our time. We are immensely grateful for all this. And we are still journeying with him, towards the World Meeting of Families and the Middle East, towards the Synod on the New Evangelization and the Year of the faith. In the hands of God, serving God and his Church.”

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