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The Life and Ministry of Pope Benedict XVI

Josef A. Ratzinger

 

April 16, 1927
Josef Alois Ratzinger is born in Marktl am Inn, Bavaria, Germany, and is baptized on the same day, Holy Saturday.

1939
Enters the minor seminary in Traunstein.

1941
Josef Ratzinger turns 14 and, as required by law at the time, he joins the Hitler Youth.

1943
At age 16, Josef Ratzinger and the rest of his seminary class are drafted into the German anti-aircraft corps. A year later he is drafted into the Austrian Legion, and undergoes basic training in the German infantry.

1945
In the Spring, Josef Ratzinger deserts the army and returns home to Traunstein. He is briefly held by American forces in a prisoner of war camp. After he is released, he and his brother Georg reenter the seminary.

1946-1951
Studies philosophy and theology at the Higher School of Philosophy and Theology of Freising and the Herzogliches Georgianum, a theological institute associated with the University of Munich.

June 29, 1951
Josef Ratzinger and brother Georg are ordained into the priesthood by Cardinal Faulhaber of Munich.

1952
Begins teaching at the Higher School of Freising.

1953
In July, Father Ratzinger receives his doctorate in theology from the University of Munich. The title of his thesis is People and House of God in St. Augustine’s Doctrine of the Church.

1957
Qualifies for university teaching. Writes his dissertation on The Theology of History in St. Bonaventure.

1959
Begins lecturing as a full time professor of fundamental theology at the University of Bonn.  On August 23, his father dies.

1962-65
Participates in all four sessions of the Second Vatican Council as chief theological advisor to Cardinal Joseph Frings of Cologne, Germany.

1963
Starts teaching at the University of Münster. On December 16, his mother dies.

1966
Accepts a chair in dogmatic theology at the University of Tübingen.

1969
The wave of student uprisings driven, in large part, by Marxist ideologies and the rejection of traditional religion upsets Father Ratzinger. He becomes disillusioned with the liberal atmosphere at Tübingen and returns to Bavaria to teach at the University of Regensburg.

1972
Founds, together with Hans Urs von Balthasar, Henri de Lubac and other renowned theologians, the quarterly journal of Catholic theology Communio.

March 25, 1977
Appointed Archbishop of Munich and Freising by Pope Paul VI.

May 28, 1977
Ordained bishop. Father Ratzinger is the first diocesan priest for 80 years to take on the pastoral governance of the Bavarian archdiocese. Chooses as his Episcopal motto: “Cooperators of the Truth.”

June 27, 1977
Elevated to the College of Cardinals by Pope Paul VI.  Assigned to the Church of Santa Maria Consolatrice al Tiburtino.

August 25-26, 1978
Takes part in the Conclave which elects John Paul I.

October 15-16, 1978
Takes part in the Conclave that elects Pope John Paul II.

1980
Pope John Paul II asks him to lead the Congregation for Catholic Education at the Vatican. He declines.

November 25, 1981
Pope John Paul II names Cardinal Ratzinger prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, President of the Pontifical Biblical Commission and of the International Theological Commission.

1984
Receives an honorary doctorate from the College of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota.

1986
Receives an honorary doctorate from the Catholic University of Lima, Peru.

1987
Receives an honorary doctorate from the Catholic University of Eichstätt.

1988
Receives an honorary doctorate from the Catholic University of Lublin.

April 5, 1993
Elevated by Pope John Paul II to the Order of Bishops within the College of Cardinals, assigning to him the suburbicarian (titulary) see of Velletri-Segni.

1986-1992
Serves as president of the Preparatory Commission for the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

1998
Receives an honorary doctorate from the University of Navarre.

November 6, 1998
Pope John Paul II approves of the election of Cardinal Ratzinger as the Vice Dean of the College of Cardinals.

1999
Receives an honorary doctorate from the LUMSA (Libera Università Maria Santissima Assunta) of Rome.

2000
Receives an honorary doctorate from the Faculty of Theology of the University of Wroclaw in Poland.

November 13, 2000
Named an honorary academic of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

November 30, 2002
Pope John Paul II approves of the election of Cardinal Ratzinger as the Dean of the College of Cardinals and gives him the title of Cardinal-Bishop of Ostia.

April, 2005
Upon the death of John Paul II, resigns as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith and participates in the Conclave to elect the next pope (April 18-19).

 

Life and ministry after being elected Pope Benedict XVI

(Main sources: Catholic News Service and Catholic Almanac)

Note: This list does not include many regular activities in the life of Pope Benedict XVI such as multiple ad-limina visits by bishops from all over the world, internal addresses to pontifical councils and academies, or ceremonies to receive and accept credentials of ambassadors to the Vatican from throughout the world. 

2005

April 19, 2005
Elected as the 265th Pope. Adopts the name of Benedict XVI, in honor of St. Benedict, the founder of Western monasticism, and of Benedict XV, pope during World War I and a promoter of peace.

April 22, 2005
Meets with all the cardinals present in Rome, including those over age 80 who did not vote in the conclave.

April 23, 2005
Meets with international journalists.

April 24, 2005
Benedict XVI is formally inaugurated as Pope.

April 25, 2005
Meets with leaders of non-Catholic churches and religions including Christians, Buddhists and Muslims. 

Receives the delegations present for his inauguration Mass.

First official foray into the city of Rome, to visit the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls.

April 27, 2005
First general audience in St. Peter's Square.

April 28, 2005
Receives a delegation of officers from the Latin American Bishops' Council who presented the new Pope with a proposal for the Fifth General Conference of Latin American Bishops.

April 30, 2005
Approves the election of Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican secretary of state, as the new dean of the College of Cardinals.

May 1, 2005
Deliveres his first Sunday noon blessing from his apartment window.

May 2, 2005
Celebrates Mass to mark one month after the death of Pope John Paul II, and pays a private visit to the tomb of the late pontiff.

May 3, 2005
Meets with Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, the first head of state to have a private audience with Pope Benedict XVI.

May 7, 2005
As Bishop of Rome, Pope Benedict XVI takes possession of the Basilica of St. John Lateran, the diocesan cathedral.

May 12, 2005
First meeting with the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See.

May 13, 2005
Names Archbishop William J. Levada of San Francisco prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the post he occupied before being elected pope.

For the first time as Bishop of Rome, meets with the priests of the diocese at the Basilica of St. John Lateran.

Announces that he was waiving the normal five-year waiting period for the sainthood cause of Pope John Paul II to be introduced.

May 18, 2005
Meets briefly with the parents of the late Terri Schindler Schiavo, the euthanized woman from Florida whose case gained international attention, at the end of his general audience in St. Peter's Square.

May 19, 2005
Meets with Moscow Catholic Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz.

Watches, along with 6000 guests, the made-for-TV movie "Karol: The Man Who Became Pope," on the day after Pope John Paul II would have celebrated his 85th birthday.

May 21, 2005
For the first time as pope, visits the Vatican Secretariat of State, which coordinates the daily work of the entire Roman Curia, and oversees relations with more than 170 governments and dozens of international agencies.

May 23, 2005
Meets separately with the president of Bulgaria, Georgi Parvanov, the prime minister of Macedonia, Vlado Buchkovski, and Catholic-Orthodox delegations from both countries.

May 29, 2005
First Italian journey and Mass outside Rome as Pope Benedict XVI. The Mass celebrated in Bari, Italy, marked the conclusion of a weeklong Italian Eucharistic Congress.

May 30, 2005
During the meeting of the Italian bishops’ general assembly, Benedict XVI speaks publicly in support of the bishops’ campaign against Italy's June 12-13 referendum on artificial reproduction and human embryonic research.

May 31, 2005
Names the first ever archpriest for Rome's Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls (which unlike the three other patriarchal basilicas of Rome -- St. Peter, St. Mary Major and St. John Lateran -- previously did not have an archpriest)

June 5, 2005
Joins Italian and Afghan leaders in appealing for the release of an Italian aid worker held captive in Afghanistan since mid-May.

June 9, 2005
Meets at the Vatican with 25 leaders of the world's major Jewish organizations.

June 16, 2005
Welcomes to the Vatican a delegation of the World Council of Churches.

June 17, 2005
Receives Slovakian President Ivan Gasparovic in audience.

June 24, 2005
First official state visit to Italy. Benedict XVI visited Italian President Azeglio Ciampi at Rome's presidential residence, the Quirinal Palace.

June 28, 2005
Releases the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which he was in charge of producing in his previous post as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

June 29, 2005
On the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, Pope Benedict presides over pallium ceremony in St. Peter's Basilica welcoming 32 new archbishops from around the world including four from the United states: Wilton D. Gregory of Atlanta, José H. Gomez of San Antonio, Joseph A. Fiorenza of Galveston-Houston, Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas.

Receives delegation representing Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople to resume Catholic-Orthodox dialogue. Metropolitan John of Perganum, head of the delegation, and Pope Benedict prayed together at the tomb of St. Peter after the meeting.

July 3, 2005
During the Angelus address at the Vatican, Benedict XVI urges Group of Eight summit meeting in Scotland to take "concrete measures" to eradicate global poverty.

July 7, 2005
Meets with prime minister of Ireland, Bertie Ahern.

Receives Israel's ambassador to the Holy See, Oded Ben-Hur, and a delegation of Israeli officials. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon extends an invitation to him to visit Israel.

July 23, 2005
Sends telegram to local church and government authorities decrying the wave of "abominable terrorist attacks" in Egypt, Turkey, Iraq and Britain and calls on God to convert the hearts of those responsible for the bloodshed.

August 18-21, 2005
First foreign apostolic journey and homecoming as Pope. Travels to Cologne, Germany for World Youth Day. Meets with German president Horst Koehler.

August 29, 2005
Meets with Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior general of the Society of St. Pius X, a schismatic priestly society founded by Archbishop Marcel Lefevre after he broke with Rome.

September 1, 2005
Appeals to Iraqi Christians and Muslims to condemn jointly the violence in their country after a tragedy a few days earlier left more than 900 Shiite pilgrims dead.

September 5, 2005
Receives King Juan Carlos I of Spain and wife, Queen Sofia, who invite him to visit their country on the occasion of the Fifth World Meeting of Families in Valencia.
           
September 7, 2005
At the end of his general audience, greets the new mayor of Bethlehem, Victor Batarseh.

Holds private meeting with Irish President Mary McAleese.

September 12, 2005
Receives King Abdullah II of Jordan and Queen Rania.

September 15, 2005
Meets with Shlomo Moshe Amar and Yona Metzger, Israel’s two chief rabbis, who issue an invitation to him to visit Jerusalem.

September 19, 2005
Meets with 110 bishops, including five from Eastern Catholic churches, who were appointed over the course of the year.

September 22, 2005
Receives President Bingu Wa Mutharika of Malawi.

September 24, 2005
Meets with German theologian Father Hans Kung in Castel Gandolfo. Father Kung has been forbidden to teach as a Catholic theologian since 1979, even though he still enjoys priestly faculties and was, like the Pope, a consultant to Second Vatican Council.

September 29, 2005
Benedict XVI receives Boris Tadic, president of the Republic of Serbia, in audience.

October 1, 2005
Receives Benjamin Mkapa, president of the Republic of Tanzania, in audience.

October 2-23, 2005
Presides over the Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist at the Vatican. On October 2, 2005
at a Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Benedict XVI opens the eleventh ordinary general assembly of the Synod of Bishops, whose theme is "The Eucharist: Source and Summit of the Life and Mission of the Church."  It is the largest synod to date with 256 synod fathers (55 cardinals, 8 patriarchs, 82 archbishops, 123 bishops, 36 presidents of episcopal conferences and 12 religious) from 118 nations participating.  In addition, there are also 32 experts and 27 auditors from five continents.

October 7, 2005
In the midst of recent laws supporting same-sex marriages in Spain and attempts to legalize euthanasia for terminally ill patients in England, Pope Benedict XVI sends a message to the Plenary Assembly of the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences, encouraging them to “continue to preach the Gospel of hope to all” in the midst of a culture characterized by secularism.

October 11, 2005
God’s Revolution, a collection of Pope Benedict XVI’s talks made during the August events at Cologne, Germany, is published in Italy.

October 15, 2005
Presides over a catechetical event with children who made their First Communion in 2005 (as part of several events to mark the closing the Year of the Eucharist.)

October 17, 2005
Sends a letter to the president of the Italian Senate calling for a “positive secularity in the world,” one that would omit hostility between religion and state. 

The Vatican reports that Pope Benedict’s public appearances are drawing record crowds to the Vatican, even bigger than those of John Paul II. More than 1 million people have attended the pope’s weekly general audience or his Sunday blessings since his election in April. The number would rise to close to 3 million by the end of December.

October 23, 2005
Canonizes the first saints of his pontificate from Italy, Poland and Chile, marking also the closing of the Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist and World Mission Sunday.

October 24, 2005
Meets with a delegation from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, led by Bishop Skylstad of Spokane, president, Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago, vice-president, and Msgr. William P. Fay, secretary general.

November 6, 2005
The University of Cluj in Romania confers an honorary doctorate upon Pope Benedict XVI in recognition of his theological and philosophical work.

November 7, 2005
Welcomes to the Vatican a delegation of the Lutheran World Federation headed by Rev. Mark Hanson, bishop president.

November 10, 2005
Meets privately with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, urges him to support the country’s minority Christian population. It marks the first time an Iraqi president visits Italy and the Vatican.

Sends a letter to the Vox Clara Committee expressing his hopes that a new translation for the English version of the Mass prayers would soon be completed.

November 12, 2005
Receives credentials of new U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, Francis Rooney.

November 13, 2005
Beatifies French monk Charles de Foucauld and two others.

November 14, 2005
Meets with the president of the Iraqi autonomous region of Kurdistan, Masoud Barzani.

Receives Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel, whose country would assume the presidency of Europe on January 1, 2006 

November 17, 2005
Receives Moshe Katsav, president of the State of Israel, in private audience.

Attends the world premier screening at the Vatican of the movie “John Paul II,” where he gets to see himself in a supportive role in the film as Cardinal Ratzinger portrayed by Polish actor Mikolaj Grabowski.

November 19, 2005
By means of an Apostolic Letter, the Pope turns authority over the two Franciscan basilicas in Assisi to the local bishop and issues new norms.

November 20, 2005
Receives Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

November 24, 2005
Meets with a delegation of the Canadian Catholic Bishops Conference.

December 3, 2005                                                                     
Meets with Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas.

December 5, 2005
Receives Prince Albert II, recently enthroned as the new sovereign of Monaco.

December 8, 2005
The Pope authorizes special plenary indulgences to mark the 40th Anniversary of Vatican II Council.

December 9, 2005
Meets with an official delegation of the World Methodist Council.

December 15, 2005
Meets with committee of the international Catholic-Orthodox dialogue.

December 18, 2005
Appoints Archbishop Pietro Sambi as apostolic nuncio to the United States.

December 25, 2005
Issues Deus Caritas Est (God is Love), the first encyclical letter of his pontificate.

 

2006

January 1, 2006
Announces that during the month of January he will pray especially for migrants throughout the world.

January 8, 2006
Baptizes 10 newborn babies in the Sistine Chapel.

February 6, 2006
Receives in audience Fr. José Rodriguez Carballo, minister general of the Friars Minor, on the occasion of the religious order’s 800th anniversary; discusses with him the issue of the Basilicas in Assisi.

February 10, 2006
Benedict XVI announces that Catholics can receive special indulgences for caring for people who are physically ill or suffer from mental illness.

February 22, 2006
Announces the creation of 15 new cardinals from 11 countries, including two from the U.S. – Archbishops William J. Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, and Sean P. O’Malley of Boston. The cardinals were officially installed at a special consistory on March 24.

March 12, 2006
Prays the rosary via satellite with students in Europe and Africa.

March 13, 2006
Holds private meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

March 22, 2006
A statement is issued by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity regarding Pope Benedict XVI’s decision to cease using the title “Patriarch of the West.”

March 31, 2006
Accompanied by 6,000 guests, Benedict XV views the TV movie Karol: A Pope Who Remained Man.

April 16, 2006
On Easter Sunday, Benedict XVI makes a special plea for peace, especially in Africa, Latin America and the Middle East.

April 25, 2006
The city of Rome honors Benedict XVI with a concert celebrating his first anniversary as Pope and the 2,759th anniversary of the foundation of the city.

May 5, 2006
Meets at his private library with the president of the European commission, Jose Manuel Barroso.

May 11, 2006
Meets with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

May 19, 2006
Decrees that Father Marcial Maciel Degollado, founder of the Legionaries of Christ, should no longer exercise his priestly ministry in public.

May 25-28, 2006
Second foreign apostolic journey.  Four-day visit to Poland, the homeland of his predecessor John Paul II. The trip includes a meeting with President Lech Kaczynsky and visits to Nazi death camps Auschwitz and Birkenau.

June 1, 2006
Receives Patrons of the Arts group from throughout Europe and North America at the Vatican Museum and thanks them for their support, which assists the Holy See with conservation and restoration works of the various Vatican museums.

Receives Archbishop Alfred C. Hughes of New Orleans, who offers him an assessment of the damages to the Archdiocese of New Orleans done by the flooding from Hurricane Katrina and the recovery efforts in process.

June 3, 2006
Meets with British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

June 16, 2006
Receives president of Costa Rica, 1987 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Oscar Arias Sanchez.

June 21, 2006
The city of Regensburg, Germany, makes Benedict XVI an honorary citizen. The Pope taught dogmatic theology and history of dogma at the city’s university for several years beginning in 1969.

June 26, 2006
Receives Filipino President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who presents the Holy Father with a copy of a recent law outlawing the death penalty in the Philippines.

June 30, 2006
Volvo automobile firm presents Pope Benedict XVI with a top of the line, blue sport utility vehicle car, the new XC90, outfitted especially for him.  

July 2, 2006
Authorizes the opening of the Vatican archives for the pontificate of Pope Pius XI, covering the years 1922-1936.

July 3, 2006
Sends a message to the people of Poznan, Poland, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the first anti-Stalinist insurgency in a Soviet block country.
 
July 8-9, 2006
Third foreign apostolic journey. Visit to Valencia, Spain, for the fifth World Meeting of Families.

July 30, 2006
At his midday Angelus address, begs the world leaders to arrange for a Mideast ceasefire, after Israeli missiles caused many victims in a Lebanon village.

August 2 and 9, 2006
“With a heart filled with affliction,” makes another urgent appeal for an immediate ceasefire in the Middle East after Israel makes a major ground invasion of southern Lebanon.

August 6, 2006
Marks 28th anniversary of death of Paul VI at Castel Gandolfo, where the late Pope, who presided over the last portion of Second Vatican Council, died.

August 11, 2006
Executions of three Catholics in Indonesia are halted after an appeal by Benedict XVI to Indonesian officials.

August 13, 2006
In a lengthy interview for Vatican TV and radio, the Pope explains the priorities of his pontificate.

September 9-14, 2006
Fourth foreign apostolic journey. Visit to Munich, Altötting and Regensburg, Germany.

September 12, 2006
Muslim leaders take offense at some of the Pope’s comments in his address to academics in the University of Regensburg in Bavaria.

September 14, 2006
Hours after he returns from Germany to the Vatican a statement is issued explaining the context and purpose of a quotation from medieval times used in his speech at Regensburg. During the angelus speech on September 17 the Pope laments again the harsh reaction and misinterpretation of his comments.

September 19, 2006
Pope Benedict’s message to clarify his words on Islam is published in Arabic on the front cover of L’Observatore Romano.

September 29, 2006
Receives Henry Kissinger, former U.S. secretary of state, in private audience.

Meets with Italian Prime Minister-elect Romano Prodi in private audience.

October 9, 2006
On the 20th anniversary of Pope John Paul’s II visit, Benedict XVI sends a message to the Aborigines and other indigenous elders in Alice Springs, Australia, in which he reminds them of their important role in helping to keep their cultures alive.

October 12, 2006
Receives Polish Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who later stops to pray at the tomb of Pope John Paul II. They dialogue about European integration and recognizing Christian roots of Europe.

October 13, 2006
Receives the Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, in private audience.

October 19, 2006
Apostolic journey inside of Italy. VisitsVerona to attend the Fourth National Church Convention.

October 23, 2006
Meets and addresses military bishops and chaplains from all over the world gathered at the Vatican for the Fifth International Congress of Ministers in Military Ordinariates.

October 27, 2006
Meets with a delegation of the Christian World Communion, including Anglicans, Lutherans, Baptists and Catholics.

Receives José Ramos Horta, prime minister of East Timor, and co-recipient of the 1996 Nobel Peace Price.

November 3, 2006
Visits the Gregorian University, meets with the Jesuit community, diplomats and benefactors of the Gregorian Foundation.

November 7, 2006
Receives Hungarian President Laszlo Solyom days after Hungary marked the 50th anniversary of Budapest upraising against the Communist regime.

November 10, 2006
Receives Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos, looks at pictures brought by him of damages done to many Christian churches and monasteries in the island’s northern area occupied by Turkey.

November 28-December 1, 2006
Fifth foreign apostolic journey. Four-day visit to Turkey. Celebrates Mass in Ephesus. Visits with Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I in Istanbul and visits the Blue Mosque.

December 11, 2006
An announcement is made that Rome’s four patriarchal basilicas will henceforth be referred to as “papal” basilicas.

December 13, 2006
Receives Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. 

December 14, 2006
Meets with Orthodox Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece. Together, in this historic meeting, they sign a joint declaration reaffirming the collaboration of Orthodox and Catholics.

December 15, 2006
Receives the Patriarch of the Catholic Copts of Alexandria, Antonios Naguib.   

December 27, 2006
Meets briefly with Iranian foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki who delivers a letter from President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

 

2007

January 4, 2007
Visits a shelter and soup kitchen operated by the Caritas organization of the Rome diocese.

January 7, 2007
Accepts resignation of Warsaw’s Archbishop Stanislaw Wielgus, after he acknowledged collaborating with Poland’s Communist secret police years earlier.

January 8, 2007
Delivers "State of the World" address to the world's diplomatic corps.

January 17, 2007
Receives Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader in audience.

January 18, 2007
Receives Prime Minister of Malta Lawrence Gonzi in audience.

January 19, 2007
Receives Turkey’s new ambassador to the Holy See, expresses wishes for a “juridically recognized status” of the Catholic Church in the country.

January 24, 2007
As a gift to the Holy See, receives the Bodmer Papyrus (P75), an ancient manuscript of the Gospels (dated between 175-225 A.D.) previously owned by the Frank Hanna family of the United States and preserved in the library of the Bodmer Foundation in Switzerland.

January 25, 2007
Welcomes Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung. Becomes the first pope to receive a Communist Vietnamese leader in an audience.  On February 5, the Vietnamese government pledges to guarantee its citizens’ freedom of belief and religion, already guaranteed by the constitution but not always enforced. In March, an announcement is made that the Vietnam government was taking steps towards establishing diplomatic relations with the Holy See.

February 1, 2007
Addresses the International Commission for International Dialogue between the Catholic Church and Orthodox Christian Churches.

Receives in audience members of the Foundation for Interreligious and Intercultural Research and Dialogue of which, as Cardinal Ratzinger, he was a founding member.

February 5, 2007
Receives in audience Prince Hans Adam II of Lichtenstein, 2001 honoree of the Path to Peace Award given by the Holy See’s permanent mission to the United Nations.

Receives in audience more than 400 participants in the World Conference of Secular Institutes.

Receives Gordon Brown, Great Britain’s Treasury chief, who issues an invitation to visit the UK.

February 12, 2007
Receives and addresses in audience approximately 200 participants in the International Congress on Natural Law, organized by the Pontifical Lateran University.

Addresses delegates from French-based Academy of Moral and Political Sciences.

March 13, 2007
Announces the publication of Sacramentum Caritatis, an apostolic exhortation that gathers the conclusions of the 2005 Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist and encourages the wider use of Latin in international celebrations and Masses.

Receives Russian President Vladimir Putin in private audience.

March 23, 2007
Receives European Parliament president, Hans-Gert Pöttering, who issues an invitation to the pope to speak at a plenary session of the European Parliament.

Receives Irish president Mary McAleese in audience. 

April 2, 2007
Marks the second anniversary of John Paul II’s death with a memorial Mass in St. Peter’s Square.

April 18, 2007
Publishes first book as Pope Benedict XVI. The first volume of his work, "Jesus of Nazareth," is published in German, Polish and Italian. It is not published in English until mid May. In Italy, on a single day, it sold more than 50,000 copies.

April 18, 2007
Receives the United Nations secretary-general, Ban Ki-Moon, who invited him to visit the United Nations.

April 19, 2007
It is announced that Benedict XVI will preside over the opening of the 5th General Conference of the Latin American Bishops in Brazil in May.

April 20, 2007
Authorizes the publication of a document by the Vatican’s International Theological Commission that does away with the concept of “limbo” for presenting “an unduly restrictive view of salvation.”

Receives Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa.

April 22, 2007
Visits the tomb of St. Augustine in the Italian city of Pavia and celebrates open air Mass for approximately 20,000 faithful to venerate and honor the legacy of the 4th century bishop and doctor of the Church.

April 24, 2007
Welcomes to the Vatican, with head of state honors, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and meets with him in private audience.

April 27, 2007
Accepts invitation to visit the United Nations, although no particular date is set.

April 28, 2007
Receives President Valdas Adamkus of Lithuania.

May 2, 2007
Receives and addresses 850 superiors general of women’s religious congregations meeting in Rome for the International Union of Superiors-General gathering. 

May 4, 2007
Receives former Iranian president Seyyed Mohammad Khatami and discusses with him the need for intercultural dialogue.

May 9-13, 2007
Sixth foreign apostolic journey. Four-day visit to Brazil, for the opening of the 5th General Conference of the Latin American and Caribbean Bishops and the canonization of the first Brazil-born native saint, Father Antônio de Sant’ Ana Galvão.

May 15, 2007
Addresses an ecumenical group of European Christian movements and urges them to safeguard the Christian faith in the continent.

May 24, 2007
Receives the president of the Bulgarian Parliament, Georgi Pirinski.

June 4, 2007
Receives the president of Philippines, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, in audience. The Philippines have the largest number of Catholics in Asia.

Receives the president of Mexico, Felipe Calderón, who renews his invitation to the Pope to visit Mexico.

June 6, 2007
A mentally disabled man of German nationality jumps over the barricades at St. Peter’s Square and holds on to the “popemobile” for a few seconds. Pope Benedict XVI was not hurt.

June 10, 2007
Pope Benedict XVI receives the president of the United States, George W. Bush.

June 16, 2007
Welcomes to the Vatican Orthodox Archbishop Chrysostomos II of Cyprus, head of the Orthodox Church in Cyprus. After a five-hour meeting, they sign a joint declaration of ecumenical commitment.

June 21, 2007
Receives in audience the Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, Mar Dinkha IV, who conveyed to the Holy Father the difficult situation of the Assyrian Christian faithful, particularly those in Iraq.

June 24, 2007
Meets with Tony Blair before he leaves his post as British prime minister.

June 26, 2007
Reinstitutes the rule that a two-thirds majority be required always to elect a pope.

June 30, 2007
Issues an open letter to mainland Chinese Catholics calling for unity between the registered and unregistered communities. The letter was released on July 1, 2007 under the title: “Letter of the Holy Father Benedict XVI to the Bishops, Priests, Consecrated Persons and Lay Faithful of the Catholic Church in the People’s Republic of China.

July 8, 2007
Authorizes expanded use of the Tridentine rite for Mass in his apostolic letter, "Summorum Pontificum."

July 10, 2007
Approves the release by the CDF of the document “Responses to Some Questions Regarding Certain Aspects of the Doctrine on the Church.”

August 12, 2007
Appeals to the international community to come to the aid of millions affected by severe flooding in several countries of South Asia.

August 14, 2007
Meets with Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, president of the Austrian bishops' conference in preparation for the Pope’s visit to Austria in early September.

August 19, 2007
Sends his secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, to visit the area devastated by the earthquake near Pisco, Peru and a $200,000 aid donation.

Early September, 2007
Becomes the first pontiff in history to own an iPod nano.

September 1-2, 2007
Participates in a prayer vigil and Mass at a mega gathering of Italian Catholic young people.

September 3, 2007
Appoints Msgr. Gianfranco Ravasi, 64, a noted biblical scholar and former prefect of the Milan Archdiocese's Ambrosian Library, as head of the Pontifical Council for Culture and president of the pontifical commissions for the Cultural Heritage of the Church and for Sacred Archeology.

September 5, 2007
Meets in private audience with Syria's vice-president, Farouk al-Sharaa, to discuss the exodus of Christian and other refugees from Iraq into Syria.

September 6, 2007
Meets with Israeli president Shimon Peres.

Holds audience with prison chaplains attending the 12th International Commission of Catholic Prison Pastoral Care in Rome.

September 7, 2007
Sends written message to environmental and religious leaders meeting in Greenland and makes a call to industrialized nations to "share clean technologies" with developing nations.

September 7-9, 2007
Seventh foreign apostolic journey. Three-day visit to Austria. It includes a meeting with Austrian political leaders and international diplomats, in which he urges Europe not to let go of its Christian values; a pilgrimage to the Marian Shrine of Mariazell; a visit to the Cistercian Abbey of the Holy Cross, the oldest continuously active Cistercian (Benedictine) monastery in the world; and a meeting with some 1,800 representatives of volunteer organizations honoring Austrian “culture of volunteerism.”

September 11, 2007
Accepts the resignation of Zimbabwean Archbishop Pius Ncube of Bulawayo amid his criticism of the country’s dictatorial president and an alleged sexual scandal brought against him.

September 14, 2007
Meets with Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir in audience.

September 22, 2007
Meets in Castel Gandolfo with more than 100 bishops ordained throughout the previous year.

September 24, 2007
Holds an audience with Ukrainian bishops from both Latin and Eastern rites to discuss the issue of cooperation between the two rites.

September 29, 2007
Ordains new bishops for the first time in his pontificate in St. Peter's Basilica.

Appoints an Italian church historian, Giovanni Maria Vian, as the new director of the Vatican official newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano.

September 30, 2007
Appeals for a peaceful resolution to the crisis in Myanmar and, during his Sunday blessing, urges the Church to pray for the Asian country.

October 8, 2007
Welcomes to the Vatican and meets in private audience president Ronald S. Lauder and new leaders of the World Jewish Congress.

October 9, 2007
Names two Nobel laureates as members of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences: Taiwanese professor and researcher Yuan Tseh Lee, 70 (Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1986); and German professor of physics Klaus von Klitzing, 64 (Nobel Prize in physics in 1985).

October 11, 2007
Accepts credentials and meets with South Korea's new ambassador to the Vatican, Francesco Kim Ji-Young.

More than 100 senior Muslim leaders from around the world send a letter to Pope Benedict XVI and other Christian leaders proposing theological similarities as a basis for peace and understanding.

October 14, 2007
Appeals for the release of two Catholic priests kidnapped in Iraq October 13.

October 21, 2007
Pastoral visit to the Diocese of Naples, Italy. Celebrates Mass in Naples' historic Piazza del Plebiscito. Afterwards, he stops to greet and have lunch with representatives of the Orthodox, Anglican and other Christian churches, and representatives of Jewish, Islamic, Buddhist, Hindu and other religions participating in an interreligious event.

October 25, 2007
Meets with Zeljko Komsic, a Catholic Croat and president of the rotating presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina. After the meeting Komsic formally exchanged documents marking ratification of an accord, or concordat, with Vatican officials designed to guarantee religious rights and freedoms for the Catholic Church in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

October 27, 2007
Receives new Ecuadorian ambassador and asks him that religious liberty be upheld and the church remain free to fulfill its ministry as Ecuador sets out to rewrite its Constitution.

October 28, 2007
The beatification of 498 martyrs of the 1936-39 Spanish Civil War at St. Peter’s Square sets a new record. In spite of the tensions created by the decision in Spain, the Pope said he hoped the martyrs' words and gestures of forgiveness toward their persecutors would lead Christians to work tirelessly for mercy, reconciliation and peaceful coexistence.

Listens to the Vatican performance of Ludwig van Beethoven's "Ninth Symphony” by the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and Chorus.

October 29, 2007
Meets with a group of 90 people participating in the International Congress of Catholic Pharmacists, asks them to help patients understand moral implications of using certain drugs.

November 4, 2007
Calls for a peaceful solution to mounting tensions between Turkey and northern Iraq during his Angelus address.

November 6, 2007
Meets with King Abdullah Aziz of Saudi Arabia.

November 8, 2007
Receives in audience the president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop James Weisgerber of Winnipeg, Manitoba, and a small delegation of the Canadian conference.

November 12, 2007
Archbishop Pietro Sambi, Apostolic Nuncio to the U.S., announces at the bishops general fall meeting that Pope Benedict XVI will make an apostolic journey to the United States and to the see of the United Nations April 15-20, 2008. The visit will take him to Washington and New York.

November 24, 2007
Holds second consistory of his pontificate where he officially inducts 23 new cardinals, including two from the U.S.: Archbishop John P. Foley, Pro-Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, and Archbishop Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, first cardinal from the south/southwestern part of the U.S.

November 29, 2007
Responds to a letter from 138 Muslim scholars by inviting a group of them to meet with him and with the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. The invitation was extended by sending a letter to Prince Ghazi of Jordan, architect of the Muslim scholars' project.

November 30, 2007
Releases Spe Salvi, the second encyclical letter of his pontificate.