Vatican set to honor pope's 80th birthday

April 14, 2007 at 4:52 PM

VATICAN, Vatican City, April 14 (UPI) -- The 80th birthday of Pope Benedict XVI is being recognized this weekend by the Vatican with a special Mass and tribute concert.

The (London) Telegraph said Saturday that the birthday celebration will include an honorary Mass on Sunday morning and the Vatican will be filled with the sounds of classical music during a tribute concert that night.

While the pope's birthday is not until Monday, tributes to the leader of the Catholic Church began this week as thousands of the faithful began to arrive in Rome.

Catholic officials at the Vatican offered their praise this week as well, crediting his firm beliefs and unique nature for his success.

"He has always defended simple faith over the ambiguous and erroneous doctrines from the so-called wise men of this world," said Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican secretary of state.

The newspaper said the German-born pope will also have his birthday recognized in his hometown of Marktl am Inn, where area officials will rename the market square in his honor.

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