Chancellor congratulates pope on 80th

15th April 2007, Comments 0 comments

16 April 2007, Berlin (dpa) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel Sunday congratulated Pope Benedict XVI - the German Joseph Ratzinger - on his 80th birthday. The pope's "theological radiance, deep faith and personal conviction," had made an impact in the Catholic church and society in general over decades, said Merkel, herself the daughter of a Lutheran pastor. Merkel published her message to the pope Sunday, a day before his actual birthday, saying her personal encounters with the pope had always left her en

16 April 2007

Berlin (dpa) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel Sunday congratulated Pope Benedict XVI - the German Joseph Ratzinger - on his 80th birthday.

The pope's "theological radiance, deep faith and personal conviction," had made an impact in the Catholic church and society in general over decades, said Merkel, herself the daughter of a Lutheran pastor.

Merkel published her message to the pope Sunday, a day before his actual birthday, saying her personal encounters with the pope had always left her enriched.

"I wish you health, strength and God's blessing for the year ahead," she said.

Earlier the chancellor attended a service in St Hedwig's Cathedral in Berlin, along with the ambassadors to Germany from Belgium, Austria, Guatemala, Macedonia, Peru, the Philippines and Togo.

Also on Sunday, in the small southern town of Marktl am Inn, where the pope was born on April 16, 1927, Bishop Wilhelm Schraml formally opened to the public the house he was born in.

Schraml affixed a crucifix to the wall of the room where the pope was born and blessed the building. The life and work of the pope are documented in the house.

Leading mass in the nearby parish church of St Oswald, where Joseph Ratzinger was baptized hours after his birth, Schraml described the pope as a "teacher of theology of genius."

Catholics are to gather from 4 am in Marktl am Inn on Monday, the pope's birthday, to celebrate his birth at 4.15 am, bearing candles from his birthplace to St Oswald's church.

DPA

Subject: German news

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