Former Pope Benedict Celebrates 90th Birthday
Retired Pope Benedict XVI celebrated his 90th birthday on Monday with a mug of beer and a small gathering with family and friends.
Footage by Vatican TV showed Benedict sitting with guests on a sunny day outside his home on Vatican grounds where he has lived since he resigned as pontiff in 2013.
He was joined by his elder brother, Monsignor Georg Ratzinger, as well with other visitors from his native Bavaria in Germany.
Pope Benedict turned 90 on Sunday, but since his birthday coincided with Easter this year, he celebrated the occasion Monday.
On Thursday, Benedict’s successor, Pope Francis, visited the former pontiff at his home to wish him a happy birthday.
Benedict’s personal secretary, Monsignor Georg Gaenswein, said in an interview last week with Italy’s la Repubblica daily that the former pope was still “very lucid, but his physical strength is lessening. His legs are tired.”
Benedict stepped down as pope in 2013 citing his increased frailty, stunning the Catholic Church and becoming the first pontiff to resign in 600 years. Since his resignation, Benedict has kept a low profile and has rarely been since in public.
Pope Benedict was born Joseph Ratzinger on April 16, 1927, in southern Germany. He trained as a theologian and was a long-time Vatican official in charge of ensuring doctrinal orthodoxy when he was elected pope in 2005. His papacy was often hounded by the Catholic Church’s child abuse scandals.