Pope celebrates a very Bavarian 85th birthday
VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI is having a very Bavarian birthday, celebrating his 85th milestone at the Vatican with his brother and bishops from his native land.
Cardinal Angelo Sodano issued birthday greetings today on behalf of the College of Cardinals that elected Benedict. They were said at the start of a Mass in the Paoline Chapel.
Sodano welcomed the Bavarian bishops to the "family party" and, speaking in Latin, wished Benedict "many happy years" ahead.
Benedict received one birthday gift ahead of time: a book of 20 essays by prominent Germans reflecting on the papacy, including German football great Franz Beckenbauer who recalled meeting the pope a few months before Germany hosted the 2006 World Cup.
Beckenbauer said the two differed over what kind of shape Germany's squad was in.