House Resolution No. 508




            WHEREAS, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI has led an extraordinary life, and is known not only for his strong traditionalist stance on the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church, but also for his career as a strong academic and theologian; and


            WHEREAS, Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger was born in Germany on Holy Saturday, April 16, 1927. Growing up in Germany, he suffered from the broken German economy and joblessness in the post World War I era, and then through the travesties of World War II; and


            WHEREAS, in 1943, Ratzinger was drafted into the German army. For the next two years, he served his country as part of an anti-aircraft unit, but in the waning days of World War II he deserted and was taken prisoner by the United States Army. In June 1945, Ratzinger was released from a POW camp, hitching a ride home on a milk truck; and


            WHEREAS, ordained a priest in 1951, Ratzinger established himself as a highly regarded university theologian, serving as a professor of theology at several German universities. On March 24, 1977, he was appointed Archbishop of Munich and Freising, taking as his motto "Fellow Worker in the Truth". On June 27, 1977, he was elevated to Cardinal by Pope Paul VI; and


            WHEREAS, in 1981, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger became Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, the Vatican office that oversees the doctrine on the faith and morals throughout the Catholic world. As enforcer of the doctrinal boundaries of the Roman Catholic Church, he gained the nickname of "Cardinal No" for his efforts to suppress the liberation theology movement, religious pluralism, moral relativism, and challenges to traditional Catholic teachings; and


            WHEREAS, in the Roman Curia, besides his prefecture at the Doctrine of the Faith, Pope Benedict XVI has been a member of the Council of the Secretariat of State for Relations with States; of the Congregations for the Oriental Churches, for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, for Bishops, for Evangelization of Peoples, for Catholic Education, for Clergy and for the Causes of the Saints; of the Pontifical Councils for Promoting Christian Unity, and for Culture; of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, and of the Pontifical Commissions for Latin America, "Ecclesia Dei", for the Authentic Interpretation of the Code of Canon Law, and for the Revision of the Code of Canon Law of the Oriental Churches; and


            WHEREAS, his many publications are spread out over a number of years and constitute a point of relevance for many people, especially for those interested in entering deeper into the study of theology; and


            WHEREAS, from 2002 until his election as Pope, Cardinal Ratzinger was also Dean of the College of Cardinals, the group that advises the pope and, when called upon, elects a new pontiff; and


            WHEREAS, after the death of Pope John Paul II on April 2, 2005, as Dean of the College of Cardinals he presided over the College's deliberations in General Congregation during the Vacancy of the Holy See, presided at the Solemn Funeral Mass for Pope John Paul II, and presided at the Mass For the Election of the Supreme Pontiff; and


            WHEREAS, on April 19, 2005, on the fourth ballot of the conclave of Cardinals for the election of the successor to St. Peter held in the Sistene Chapel of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger was elected the Bishop of Rome and the Supreme Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church; and


            WHEREAS, his election as the 265th Pope of the Roman Catholic Church and the ninth German Pope came on the Feast of St. Leo IX, the most important German Pope of the Middle Ages. Ratzinger chose the pontifical name of Benedict, which comes from the Latin word meaning "the blessed", in honor of both Pope Benedict XV and St. Benedict of Nursia; and


            WHEREAS, commenting on his experience during the conclave for the election of the new pontiff, Pope Benedict XVI said that "At a certain point, I prayed to God 'please don't do this to me'...Evidentally, this time He didn't listen to me."; and


            WHEREAS, in his apostolic blessing "Urbi et Orbi", given on April 19, 2005, Pope Benedict XVI said:


"After the great Pope John Paul II, the Cardinals have elected me, a simple and humble laborer in the vineyard of the Lord. The fact that the Lord knows how to work and to act even with inadequate instruments comforts me, and above all I entrust myself to your prayers. Let us move forward with the joy of the Risen Lord, confident of his unfailing help. The Lord will help us and Mary, his Most Holy Mother, with be on our side. Thank you."; and


            WHEREAS, one of Pope Benedict XVI's main roles was to teach about the Catholic faith and the solutions to the problems of discerning and living the faith. "Friendship with Jesus Christ" was a frequent theme of his teaching. He stressed that everything depends on this intimate friendship:

"We are all called to open ourselves to this friendship with God...speaking to Him as to a friend, the only One who can make the world both good and happy...That is all we have to do is put ourselves at His disposal."; and


            WHEREAS, in his personal explanation and summary of his first encyclical Deus Caritas Est, Pope Benedict XVI said:

"If friendship with God becomes for us something ever more important and decisive, then we will begin to love those whom God loves and who are in need of us. God wants us to be friends with His friends and we can be so, if we are interiorly close to them."; and


            WHEREAS, Pope Benedict XVI is known to be deeply interested in classical music, is an accomplished pianist with a grand piano in his papal quarters, and has recorded an album of contemporary classical music in which he sings and recites prayers to the Blessed Virgin Mary. His favorite composer is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, of whose music the Pope said: "His music is by no means just entertainment; it contains the whole tragedy of human existence.". His favorite works of music are Mozart's Clarinet Concerto and Clarinet Quintet; and


            WHEREAS, Pope Benedict XVI is also known for his fondness of cats, publishing a book in 2007 called Joseph and Chico: A Cat Recounts the Life of Pope Benedict XVI, which told the story of the Pope's life from the feline Chico's perspective; and


            WHEREAS, on February 11, 2013, Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation from the papacy, effective February 28, 2013; and


            WHEREAS, Timothy Cardinal Dolan of New York, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, in a statement issued moments after learning of the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI said:

"The Holy Father brought the tender heart of a pastor, the incisive mind of a scholar and the confidence of a soul united with His God in all he did...

Pope Benedict often cited the significance of eternal truths and he warned of a dictatorship of relativism. Some values, such as human life, stand out above all others, he taught again and again. It is a message for eternity...

He spoke for the world's poor when he visited them and wrote of equality among nations in his peace messages and encyclicals. He pleaded for a more equitable share of world resources and for a respect for God's creation in nature...

Those who met him, heard him speak, and read his clear, profound writings found themselves moved and changed. In all he said and did he urged people everywhere to know and have a personal encounter with Jesus Christ...

Our experience impels us to thank God for the gift of Pope Benedict.":


            NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that we, the members of the Missouri House of Representatives, Ninety-seventh General Assembly, hereby express our sincere appreciation and gratitude for the gift of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI and the remarkable legacy with which he leaves the papacy to enjoy the serenity and joy of a life of quiet prayer in his retirement; and


            BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Chief Clerk of the Missouri House of Representatives be instructed to prepare a properly inscribed copy of this resolution for His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI.