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Pope Benedict XVI

Benedict XVI was born Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger on April 16, 1927, in Marktl am Inn, Germany. He was the 265th Pope, having been elected in April 2005 following the death of Pope John Paul II. At 14, Ratzinger was conscripted into the Hitler Youth, a legal requirement. In 1945, he deserted the German army and was taken prisoner by the U.S. Army. Ratzinger received a doctorate in theology at the University of Munich in 1953, having been ordained as a priest two years earlier. He is a Conservative who during his papacy advocated a return to fundamental Christian values to counter the increased secularisation of many developed countries. On February 11, 2013, he became the first pontiff since the Middle Ages to resign.

CommentInsight & Opinion

How they see it

Pope Benedict steps down

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 17 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 17 February, 2013, 6:40am

1. The Manila Times

It was not just the entire Roman Catholic Church, and it was not just all of Christendom that was shocked by the decision of Pope Benedict XVI to abdicate. The entire world was stunned. For the past many centuries … a man stopped being pope on the day he died … The pope's exit should not be cause for concern. It is almost ridiculous how some news organisations have been rehashing the predictions of so-called seers who say that the next pope will be the last, and will pave the way to the coming of the end times. This scenario will not take place. After the next pope either dies in office or resigns when he is no longer able to carry out his duties, then the next pope takes over. And the next. And the next. (Manila)

 

2. The Irish Times

Arguably, in the very act of resigning, in recognising the limitations of age on leadership as the political and corporate worlds have long done, Pope Benedict XVI stamps the name of moderniser on his legacy … But "moderniser" is not a hat he will wear comfortably. A charming, shy and kindly bookworm of inspiring piety, he nevertheless shares - some would argue, goes beyond - his deeply conservative predecessor's views … Benedict represents the contradictions and evolution of the church itself on the crisis that has convulsed it most in recent years, child abuse. There were concerns that as a bishop he may have covered up the activities of priests … As pope he apologised to victims and pledged reform. (Dublin)

 

3. L'Osservatore Romano

It is well known that Cardinal Ratzinger (the pope's previous title) in no way sought to be elected to the Pontificate, one of the most rapid in history, and that he accepted it with the simplicity of one who really does entrust his life to God. That is why Benedict XVI never felt alone, in an authentic and daily relationship with the One who lovingly governs the life of every human being, and in the reality of the Communion of Saints, sustained by the love of his co-workers, and nourished by prayer and by the love of so many people, believers and non-believers alike … It is in this light that we must also read his renouncement of the pontificate, free and above all trusting in the providence of God. (Vatican City)

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