Pope Benedict XVI

Religious Leader

1927 –

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Who is Pope Benedict XVI?

Benedict XVI is Pope emeritus of the Catholic Church, having served as Pope from 2005 to 2013. In that position, he was both the leader of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State. Benedict was elected on 19 April 2005 in a papal conclave following the death of Pope John Paul II, celebrated his papal inauguration Mass on 24 April 2005, and took possession of his cathedral, the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran, on 7 May 2005.

Ordained as a priest in 1951 in his native Bavaria, Ratzinger established himself as a highly regarded university theologian by the late 1950s and was appointed a full professor in 1958. After a long career as an academic, serving as a professor of theology at several German universities—the last being the University of Regensburg, where he served as Vice President of the university in 1976 and 1977—he was appointed Archbishop of Munich and Freising and cardinal by Pope Paul VI in 1977, an unusual promotion for someone with little pastoral experience. In 1981, he settled in Rome when he became Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, one of the most important dicasteries of the Roman Curia. From 2002 until his election as pope, he was also Dean of the College of Cardinals, and as such, the primus inter pares among the cardinals. Prior to becoming pope, he was "a major figure on the Vatican stage for a quarter of a century" as "one of the most respected, influential and controversial members of the College of Cardinals"; he had an influence "second to none when it came to setting church priorities and directions" as one of John Paul II's closest confidants.

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Apr 16, 1927
Also known as
  • Joseph Ratzinger
  • Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
  • Joseph Alois Ratzinger
  • Benedict Pope
  • Benedict
  • Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger
  • Benet XVI
  • Cardinal Josef Ratzinger
  • Joseph Kardinal Ratzinger
  • The Enforcer
  • Catholicism
  • Germans
  • Germany
  • Ducal Georgianum
    ( - 1951/06/29)
  • University of Münster
  • University of Bonn
Lived in
  • Bavaria

on July 23, 2013


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