On this day, Joseph Ratzinger was born in the Bavarian town of Marktl. Marktl is located not far from the Austrian border, on the River Inn. Joseph had one brother and one sister, and his father was a policeman. Joseph’s brother is still alive, also a priest, and by occupation a musician and conductor of the church chorus. Since all German boys, had to become members of the Hitler Youth after reaching the age of 14, Joseph also became a member of the organization but, according to his brother, he refused to attend meetings.
He and his brother entered the seminary, but Joseph was drafted at the age of 16 in the Air Defense as a Luftwaffenhelfer – this was one of the ways the Germans recruited boys into the armed forces. He later also received training in the German infantry, and ended up in a U.S. prison camp after the end of the war. He was released after a few months and returned to the seminary. He was ordained in 1951. In 1977 he became Archbishop of Munich and Freising, and that same year was made cardinal. In 1981 he moved to Rome, when he was appointed prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He became pope in 2005. He took the name Benedict after Pope Benedict XV and St. Benedict of Norcia. In 2013 he voluntarily resigned the papacy.