Benedict XVI

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI
Benedict XVI, in February 2013 voluntarily renounced the papacy, became the first pope in the last six years, refused to dignity.

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, head of the Roman Catholic Church ( before his election to the papacy — Joseph Alois Ratzinger) was born 16 April in 1927 in the village of Marktl am Inn (Bavaria, Germany). He was the third and youngest child in the family Commissioner gendarmerie. In 1937, his father gave his son a classical school in Traunstein, and two years later Joseph entered the predseminariyu, it was the beginning of his ecclesiastical career.

By the end of World War II, reaching military age from the seminary Ratzinger was conscripted into military service in the defense division of Germany — in the Austrian Legion in Munich. But in the fighting he did not have to participate. When approaching U.S. troops in 1945, he deserted and returned home to Traunstein, but was soon arrested. After a few months of the American camp for prisoners of war, Joseph returned home and continued his studies at the seminary.

In the years 1946-1951 he studied at the Theological Institute at the University of Munich, Faculty of Theology and Philosophy, immediately after which was ordained to the priesthood. His doctorate in theology, Ratzinger in 1959 became a professor at Bonn, and in 1963 — the University of Munster, and was among the best theologians in Germany. In 1959-1977 he taught fundamental theology at various German universities.

Along with teaching in the years 1962-1965, Ratzinger as a theologian advisor at the Cologne Cardinal Josef Frings attended Vatican II . And in 1972, along with von Balthasar, de Lubac and others, as opposed to anti-clerical publications, participated in the creation of the Catholic theological journal «Communio» («Communion"), devoted to the issues of theology and culture that still exists today.

In 1977, Ratzinger was made Archbishop of Munich and Frayzingskim, and a month later promoted to the Cardinals. In 1980, Pope John Paul II appointed Cardinal Ratzinger, head of the Special Council for the Laity, and a year later offered him the post of prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (the successor to the Holy Inquisition). In connection with the new appointment, Ratzinger left Munich chair and moved to the Vatican. A post he held until the death of John Paul II.

In the Vatican, he became a permanent member of the episcopal synods, and in 1993 took the title of bishop of the Roman suburb of Velletri-Segni. December 3, 2002 Ratzinger was elected dean of the College of Cardinals, becoming the first in his post since 1555, who was later elected Pope. He also was the main advisor on theological questions of Pope John Paul II and was a member of the commission «Ecclesia Dei», whose mission is to create solutions of the Catholic Church on the most pressing issues of our time, and the view over the decades Ratzinger pontificate of John Paul II has often become the official position of the Vatican.

After the death of , Joseph Ratzinger on April 19 in 2005 was elected the new Pope, taking the name Benedict XVI (Latin: — Benedictus PP. XVI, Italian. — Benedetto XVI), which means "blessed." According to tradition, existing since the mid-16th century, who was elected to the papacy takes a new name, so wanting to honor one of its predecessors. Ratzinger — 265th pontiff took the name Benedict, in honor of Pope Benedict XV (1854-1922) and St. Benedict of Nursia (480-547), becoming the 16th Pope of that name. He was crowned April 24, 2005, and May 7, Pope Benedict XVI, who carries the title of Bishop of Rome and officially joined the department head of the Moscow diocese.

Personal XVIBenedikt coat of arms of Benedict XVI became the first Pope in Germany almost 1,000 years. Second consecutive Catholic Church led not Italian, to John Paul II, in 1523 the Pope were all Italians. He also became the most senior at the time of the election of the Pope since Pope Clement XII (elected in 1730).

Benedict XVI speaks fluent German, Italian, Latin, English and Spanish and reads texts in ancient Greek and Hebrew. He is the author of books — "Introduction to Christianity", "The End of Time?", "Truth and religious tolerance," "God is near us," "servants of your joy", "Jesus of Nazareth" and others, as well as numerous works, one of which — "Introduction to Christianity" — has become an international bestseller and has been translated into dozens of languages.

He is considered one of the most conservative Catholic theologians. In theological discussions Benedict XVI holds conservative positions. For example, he opponent of abortion, divorce, gay marriage, homosexuality, cloning, defended the papal primacy, the value of life, denounced "radical feminism" as an ideology that undermines the foundation of the family and God-given differences between men and women.

Although considered by many contemporaries, Benedict XVI did not have the charisma of John Paul II, but his intelligence, logic, and open-mindedness are backed by a true German perseverance, efficiency and pedantry. He is an outstanding thinker and a Bible scholar, teacher, writer, and despite his age, demonstrates the tremendous physical and intellectual activity.

In February 2013, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI voluntarily renounced the papacy, which is a rare event in the history of the Catholic Church. The last pope to use the right of renunciation, was Gregory XII — the 205th Pope of Rome (1406-1415). After leaving the papacy, Benedict received the title of "honorary male" or "honorary Roman Pontiff" and kept her own name — Benedict XVI. In retirement he plans to devote his time to his hobbies — reading and working on the books, and, of course, prayers for the welfare of the church.

The new head of the Roman Catholic Church was elected as the evening March 13 after five rounds of voting conclave of 115 cardinals. 266-m account pontiff was archbishop of Buenos Aires Jorge Mario Bergoglio.