Pope works as usual on 84th birthday

Pope Benedict XVI spent his birthday making appointments, receiving aides.

Vatican City: Pope Benedict XVI spent his 84th birthday working, making appointments and receiving aides while wellwishers including Britain`s Queen Elizabeth II sent their greetings.

Benedict, who was born in the Bavarian town of Marktl am Inn, Germany, had a busy day on Saturday. He appointed an Italian bishop, and greeted Spain`s new ambassador to the Vatican with a speech defending religious freedom.

He met with Vatican cardinals, including the prelate heading the office for bishops in the week in which a former Belgian bishop caused an uproar by admitting in a TV interview he had sexually abused two nephews, conduct he likened to a "game”.
Sex abuse by clergy in many countries has been an issue for much of Benedict`s papacy.

He was elected pontiff three days after his 78th birthday in 2005.

Bureau Report