Today is the 85th birthday of the Pope and an opportunity therefore to publish ones's warm good wishes to him on this anniversary, and to wish him very many happy returns of the day.
I see some in the media are using this occasion, and the impending anniversary of his election, to indulge in the fairly predictable speculation about his possible reirement - but that seems to be par for the course with any monarch who reaches a significant birthday. As with The Queen, what should strike observers is that blend of personal dedication and continued hard work at the tasks of their respective callings.
The Pope's birthday is also an opportunity to re-state appreciation for all that Joseph Ratzinger has achieved and contributed in a lifetime of faithful Catholic life. His work as a theologian and as a communicator of the Gospel, his profound and far-reaching insights into the life of the liturgy and of the Church as a whole, his quiet dignity as a Christian are all to be admired and celebrated by the wider community of the Catholic Church and beyond.
The Pope celebrates Mass - the heart of his calling
Ad multos annos !