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Pope turns 85

Italy,Religion, Mon, 16 Apr 2012 IANS

Vatican City, April 16 (IANS/AKI) Pope Benedict XVI marked his 85th birthday Monday.


The pope met his older brother, 88 year-old Father Georg Ratzinger, and asked Catholics to pray that he gets the strength to lead the world's 1.2 billion faithful.


The church will Thursday celebrate the seventh anniversary of Benedict's election as pope.


"Next Thursday, on the occasion of the seventh anniversary of my election to the See of Peter, I ask for your prayers, so that the lord gives me the strength to fulfil the mission he entrusted to me," the pope said in French to thousands of people in St. Peter's Square.


Benedict is the oldest pope in 109 years, since Leo XIII who died aged 93 in 1903.


Benedict used a cane for the first time in public when boarding a plane for a six-day trip to Mexico and Cuba last month.


"I am old but I still manage to carry out my duty," Benedict told Cuban leader Fidel Castro.






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