Belief Beat

Pope Benedict turned 83 today, and members of the Philadephia-based Papal Foundation presented him with a large cake and cheerful rendition of “Happy Birthday.”

The Associated Press reports that the Vatican doesn’t officially celebrate popes’ birthday, though a papal palace luncheon is planned Monday — after Benedict gets back from his trip to Malta — to mark the fifth anniversary of his accession to the throne of St. Peter. From the AP:

His doctors say the pontiff is in generally good health for his age. But as the clerical sex abuse crisis batters the church, Benedict has been looking pale and gaunt.

Catholic News Agency and Whispers in the Loggia have more on this story. 

Check back Monday and Tuesday for Pope Watch posts about the Malta visit, anniversary observance and other Vatican news; share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

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