In his second volume on Jesus, Holy Week: From the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection, Benedict XVI presented the passion and resurrection of Christ as history-changing events that answer humanity’s unceasing need to be reconciled with God. (March 10)

The Pope explained that he did not set out to write another chronological “Life of Jesus,” but instead to present the figure and message of “the real Jesus” — not a political revolutionary and not a mere moralist, but the Son of God who inaugurated a new path of salvation based on the power of love.

  • John Paul II is Blessed! Pope Benedict celebrated the Mass for the May 1 beatification of Pope John Paul II, his predecessor and friend, in St. Peter’s Square in front of hundreds of thousands who filled the Square and the entire length of Via della Conciliazione and beyond. When Benedict XVI read the formula of beatification, the crowds burst into sustained applause. “John Paul II is blessed because of his faith, a strong, generous and apostolic faith,” Benedict XVI said just minutes after formally beatifying his predecessor.
  • Thousands of people returned to St. Peter’s Square to thank God for the gift of his life and for his beatification and to attend the thanksgiving Mass presided over by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican secretary of state, on May 2.
  • The weekend of June 4-5, Benedict XVI made a pastoral visit to Croatia, the very heart of Europe. The main reason for his trip was the national gathering of families, which took place in Zagreb, the Croatian capital.
  • Benedict XVI was in Aquileia and Venice for a weekend visit (May 7-8) that highlighted the Christian heritage of this crossroads of Mediterranean and Eastern European history. The Pope was greeted by his friend Cardinal Angelo Scola, Patriarch of Venice.
  • Diamond Jubilee of Benedict XVI’s priestly ordination. The Holy Father celebrated the 60th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood on the solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul by presiding over a Mass and giving the pallium to 41 archbishops in St. Peter’s Basilica (June 29).
  • In a secular age, in the middle of summer, thousands of young people gathered, in heat and rain, around Pope Benedict, who visited Madrid, Spain, for World Youth Day (August 18-21).
  • Benedict XVI paid a visit to Germany from September 22 to 25. It was the German pontiff’s third trip as Pope to his homeland, and in many ways the most challenging. Germany is considered one of the most secularized countries in Europe, and the Catholic Church in Germany has been strained by contentious internal debates.
  • On October 27, after travelling by train, the Pope arrived in Assisi, Italy, for an interreligious meeting. Marking the 25th anniversary of the first Assisi interfaith gathering for peace, the pontiff welcomed representatives of all faiths as well as non-believers. Pope Benedict was the last to read his statement. He said: “Violence never again! War never again! Terrorism never again! In the name of God, may every religion bring upon the earth justice and peace, forgiveness and life, love!”
  • Benedict XVI made a three-day trip to the West African state of Benin (November 18-20) to release an apostolic exhortation, exploring the themes treated by the 2009 Synod of Bishops for Africa. Titled Africae Munus (“The Commitment of Africa”), the 138-page text said the Church should lead the way in promoting respect for human dignity and life at every stage, fighting against economic imbalance and environmental degradation, providing health care to those with AIDS and other diseases, educating the young and reconciling human hearts in places of ethnic tension.

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