Pope Benedict XVI
JOSEPH RATZINGER (Pope Benedict XVI) was born in Bavaria, Germany, in 1927. He served as pope of the Catholic Church from April 19, 2005, to February 28, 2013. A prolific author, theologian, and university professor, Ratzinger participated in the Second Vatican Council as a theological advisor. He was named Archbishop of Munich and Freising in 1977 and was created a cardinal by Pope Paul VI later that same year. In 1981, Pope John Paul II called him to Rome to lead the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, where he served for twenty-four years until his election to the papacy. He is widely recognized as one of the most brilliant theologians and spiritual leaders in recent history.