On the occasion of the 95tho birthday of Benedict XVIOn April 16, the Pope emeritus received a flood of congratulations on the Internet from all over the world; almost 3,000 messages were received - mostly in German, but also in Polish, English, Italian and some in Spanish.
The initiative came from the "Tagespost Foundation for the promotion of Catholic journalism", publisher among other things of the weekly magazine of the same name, which created an Internet portal where anyone could personally congratulate the Pope emeritus. (www.benedictusXVI.org). The website, created in close collaboration with Benedict XVI, regularly reports on the theological work of the Pope Emeritus.
One of the first to send his congratulations through this medium was Cardinal Kurt Koch, who wrote: "My first word can only be gratitude. I thank God that on Holy Saturday 1927 he gave us Joseph Ratzinger as an excellent human being, a deeply believing Christian, an outstanding theologian and a good bishop and pope. And I thank Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI for his lifelong witness to God's love and for his compelling and great theological work.
In German, Björn Hirsch from Fulda writes: "Dear Pope Benedict XVI, I came to faith at World Youth Day in Cologne in 2005. Later I studied theology; and in these studies your teachings left a deep impression on me. And I would like to thank him personally for that on his 95th birthday, on which I wish him the peace and blessing of our Risen Lord. May He continue to be with you".
In English, a person signing simply "Lucy" writes: "Your teachings will continue to inspire and guide us for decades to come. Thank you for all that you have contributed to the Church and to the world. We are all indebted to you - God bless you always!".
The Pope Emeritus was able to read the greetings on a laptop with the help of his secretary, Msgr. Georg Gänswein, at his home "Mater Ecclesiae" inside the Vatican.
On the website you can also read Benedict XVI's response: "On the occasion of my 95th birthday, I have received numerous congratulations from all over the world. These numerous expressions of fidelity and solidarity have made me very happy. I am very grateful and I join everyone in prayer".
And Bishop Gänswein adds: "Benedict XVI asked me to convey his heartfelt thanks to all those who have congratulated the Pope Emeritus through the website www.BenedictusXVI.org. With great joy and interiorly moved, he read the many heartfelt words addressed to him there".