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Benedict XVI served as pope of the Roman Catholic Church from 2005 to 2013. He is best known for his rigid views on Catholicism and topics such as birth control and homosexuality.
In this biography video of the Papal Election in 2005, we see that the election for the new Pope was an easy one because of Pope John Paul's friendship with the man who would soon become known as Pope Benedict XVI.
In this biography video, we hear Pope Benedict XVI's most controversial speech. On September 12, 2006 the Pope visited his homeland of Bavaria where he said that the only things Muhammad did were evil and destructive.
In this biography video, we see Pope Benedict XVI's wardrobe mishap on the day of his revealing after being named the new Pope. With more than 100,000 waiting outside of the Vatican to see the Pope, inside the Pope has nothing to wear.'
Jorge Mario Bergoglio was born in Buenos Aires in 1936 and became Pope Francis on March 13, 2013, the first non-European pope in over 1,000 years. Watch this short video to learn about the life of Pope Francis.
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Born in Germany in 1927, Pope Benedict XVI grew up under war reparations from World War I, as the Nazi regime was gaining power. He was briefly a member of the Hitler Youth in his early teens, after membership became mandatory in 1941. He turned to theological studies after the war, helping found the influential journal Communio. He was elevated to the papacy in 2005. In February 2013, Benedict XVI resigned from his position as pope.
"Thank you for your love and support. May you always experience the joy that comes from putting Christ at the center of your lives."
Pope Benedict XVI was born Joseph Ratzinger on April 16, 1927, in Marktl am Inn, Bavaria, Germany, the youngest of three children. His father was a policeman and his mother a hotel cook (before she married). His family moved frequently among villages in rural Bavaria, a deeply Roman Catholic region in Germany, as the Nazis strengthened their stranglehold on Germany in the 1930s. His father was a determined anti-Nazi, Ratzinger wrote. Unemployment was rife," he wrote in his memoir, Milestones. "War reparations (from World War I) weighed heavily on the German economy. Battles among the political parties set people against one another."
As a defense against the Nazi regime, Ratzinger threw himself into the Roman Catholic Church, "a citadel of truth and righteousness against the realm of atheism and deceit," he wrote.
Ratzinger entered preparatory seminary in 1939. But he could not avoid the realities of the day. Ratzinger was briefly a member of the Hitler Youth in his early teens, after membership became mandatory in 1941.
In 1943, he and fellow seminarians were drafted into the anti-aircraft corps. He has said his unit was attacked by Allied forces that year, but he did not take part in that battle because a finger infection had kept him from learning to shoot.
After about a year in the antiaircraft unit, Ratzinger was drafted into the regular military. He told TIME magazine in 1993 that while stationed near Hungary, he saw Hungarian Jews being sent to death camps.
Ratzinger was sent home and then called up again before deserting in late April 1945. He was captured by American soldiers and held as a prisoner of war for several months.
Ratzinger returned to seminary at the University of Munich in the fall of 1945 and was ordained a priest in 1951. Two years later, he earned his doctorate at the University of Munich. He earned his teaching licentiate in 1957 and became a professor of Freising College in 1958, teaching dogma and fundamental theology.
Ratzinger became a professor at the University of Bonn in 1959. Later, he moved to the University of Muenster (1963-66) and took a chair in dogmatic theology at the University of Tübingen. Alienated by the student protests at Tübingen, he returned to Bavaria, to the University of Regensburg.
At the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), Ratzinger served as chief theological expert to Cardinal Joseph Frings of Cologne, Germany.
For more about Pope Benedict and the history of papal resignations, go to History.com.
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