Pope Benedict the 16th, the first pope to resign in nearly 600 years, established his legacy as a strict theologian and enforcer of Roman Catholic doctrine.
Born Joseph Ratzinger, he became the first German pontiff in nearly a thousand years in 2005, succeeding the popular Pope John Paul the Second.
He was well known in the Church hierarchy before his selection as pope. Under John Paul, Ratzinger became the head of the Vatican office which oversees and enforces church doctrine, the powerful Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in 1981. But the more reserved Pope Benedict never developed the near rock-star status his charismatic predecessor had among many Catholics.
Benedict brought to the papacy some tough and controversial points of view. He opposed those advocating women be allowed to become priests, and called homosexuality an intrinsic moral evil. Benedict has also argued that predominantly Muslim Turkey does not belong in Christian Europe. And a church document he wrote maintains that Catholicism is the only true religion.
During his years as pope, Benedict worked to reinforce Church teachings against abortion, birth control and secularism.
During his nearly eight years as pope, Benedict faced a number of challenges -- including the prolonged priest sex abuse scandal and declining numbers of practicing Catholics in Europe and Latin America.
Benedict was born in 1927, and grew up in Nazi Germany. He became a priest in 1951 and was named archbishop of Munich in 1977. Benedict was 78 when he became pope. In his resignation, he said he no longer had the strength to fully serve the Church, but gave no details.
Vatican officials say he is expected to retire to a cloistered monastery.
Pope's Resignation Is First in 600 Years
- Haiti's Man-Made Hell
- The World's Struggle to Kick the Habit
- United States and Israel Push The Boundaries of International Law
- Military Interventions Rarely Fulfill Their Goals
- Why Do Societies Give Up?
- War is Like Rust
- War's Lingering Phantoms
- Lasting Peace
- Controlling Lucifer
- United States to Join Global Race for Talent -- Big Time
- Asteroid Safely Passes Earth
- Meteor Causes Panic in Russia
- Pope Benedict Becomes First Pope to Resign in over 600 years
- Pope Benedict to Step Down
- World, Religious Leaders React to Pope Resignation
- Two Africans Among Candidates for Next Pope
- German-Born Pope Brought Conservative Views to Vatican
- Asteroid to Pass Very Near Earth
- Earth-Like Planets Closer Than Expected
- When Soft Power Fails
- Hogging the Global Pie
- Avoiding the Wars That Never End
- I Am Because You Are
- The Death of Depth
- Lance Armstrong Admits Using Banned Substances in Run to Seven Tour Titles
- Lance Armstrong Admits to Doping in Oprah Interview
- The Geopolitics of Shale
- Intelligence and Human Networks
- The Really Important News of 2012
- Falling Birth Rates Portend A Very Different World
- What Hemingway Can Teach Us About New Year's Predictions
- Sacred Space
- Financial Nerve Centres at Risk of Flooding
- The Growth That Never Was
- A Gospel of Wealth
- Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super Rich
- The Cyber Menace
- Cyber Threats: Establishing the First Line of Defense
- Arming The Information Highway Patrol
- Keeping the Global Ship on Course
- Global Governance at Heart of Failed Foreign Policies
- Global Terrorism: Piles of Skulls
- When Terrorists 'Killed' in Drone Strikes Aren't Really Dead
- Stripping Down to 140 Characters
- Revolution through iDemocracy
- What Tyrants Fear Most: Social Media
VOA News. "German-Born Pope Brought Conservative Views to Vatican "