Early Life

Josephs Ratzinger was
born in Marktl am Inn, in Bavaria, the son of a police officer who was
staunchly anti-Nazi. In 1937 Ratzinger's father retired and settled in
the town of Traunstein. When Ratzinger turned 14 in 1941, he was
required by law to join the Hitler Youth, but according to his
biographer John Allen he was not an enthusiastic member. He requested to
be taken off the rolls and reportedly refused to attend a single
meeting. In 1943, at the age of 16 he was, along with the rest of his
class, drafted into the Flak or anti-aircraft corps, responsible for the
guarding of a BMW plant outside Munich. He was then sent for basic
infantry training and was posted to Hungary, where he worked setting up
anti-tank defences until fleeing in April 1944 (an offense punishable by
death). In 1945 he was briefly held in an Allied POW camp. By June he
was released, and he and his brother (Georg) entered a Catholic
seminary. On June 29, 1951, they were ordained by Cardinal Faulhaber of
Munich. His dissertation (1953) was on Saint Augustine, his
Habilitationsschrift (second dissertation) on Saint Bonaventure.

Ratzinger was a
professor at the University of Bonn from 1959 until 1963, when he moved
to the University of Münster. In 1966, he took a chair in dogmatic
theology at the University of Tübingen, where he was a colleague of
Hans Küng but was confirmed in his traditionalist views by the liberal
atmosphere of Tübingen and the Marxist leanings of the student movement
of the 1960s. In 1969 he returned to Bavaria, to the University of

At the Second Vatican
Council (1962 – 1965), Ratzinger served as a peritus or chief
theological expert, to Cardinal Joseph Frings of Cologne, Germany. He is
currently very interested in religious pluralism.

Source: wikipedia.org

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