Joseph Ratzinger. Benedict XVI. Born in Bavaria, Germany, on April 16, 1927. Grew up during the time when the Nazi Regime controlled Germany and many surrounding countries. In 1941, just after his 14 th birthday, he was forced to enter the Hitler Youth Corps - but he never attended meetings.
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Grew up during the time when the Nazi Regime controlled Germany and many surrounding countries.
In that same year, his cousin, suffering from Down Syndrome, was murdered by the Nazis in their program to do away with the physically and mentally disabled.
After earning a doctorate in theology, he began a long career as a university lecturer.
Teacher and Author
In 1981, Pope John Paul II appointed him as the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, President of the Pontifical Biblical Commission and President of the International Theological Commission.
After the death of John Paul II, the cardinals gathered at the Vatican in what is termed a “conclave.”
The Pope chose the name Benedict to create a spiritual bond with Benedict XV who steered the Church through a period of turmoil caused by the First World War.