15 March 2023
To commemorate the passing of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Austrian Post has issued a miniature sheet in his memory.
The future Pope was born Joseph Ratzinger in Marktl am Inn, Bavaria, in 1927.
He was ordained a priest in 1951 and then taught as a theology professor at the University of Freising and other universities.
In 1977, he was appointed Archbishop of Munich and Freising and Cardinal. Pope John Paul II subsequently made him Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. In 2002 he became Dean of the College of Cardinals and in 2005, after the death of John Paul II, the first German head of the Catholic Church in modern times. From then on, he called himself Benedict XVI.
His resignation for health reasons in 2013 was a surprise, as no pope had voluntarily resigned from office for more than 700 years. As Pope Emeritus, he lived in the Mater Ecclesiae monastery in the Vatican Gardens, where he died on 31 December 2022.
His successor Pope Francis presided over the funeral ceremonies, after which Benedict was buried in St Peter's Basilica.
In his pontificate, Pope Benedict XVI continued the conservative course of his predecessor and was critical of many reforms, and his term was also overshadowed by abuse scandals within the Church. However, he was recognised beyond the Catholic Church as a great theologian.