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.
Stinging words for pope from top Australian cleric George Pell
Australia's representative at this month's secret conclave to elect a successor says Benedict was a 'brilliant teacher' but 'government wasn't his strong point'
Australia's most senior Catholic, Cardinal George Pell, has criticised Pope Benedict, describing his historic resignation as destabilising and questioning his governance skills.
Pell, Australia's representative at this month's secret conclave to elect a successor, said Benedict was a "brilliant teacher" but "government wasn't his strong point".
"I think I prefer somebody who can lead the church and pull it together a bit," Pell said in a candid interview.
He pointed to the so-called "Vatileaks" scandal, in which Benedict's butler leaked secret papal memos revealing intrigues between rival groups of cardinals, though he said it was "very easy to be wise after the event".
"I think the governance is done by most of the people around the pope and that wasn't always done brilliantly. And I'm not breaking any ground there - this is said very commonly," Pell added in a later radio interview from the Vatican.
He also said the pontiff's decision to resign set a worrying precedent for the church.
"People who, for example, might disagree with a future pope, will mount a campaign to get him to resign," suggested Pell. He said the pontiff had been "well aware that this was a break with tradition, slightly destabilising".
Asked what he would be seeking in the next pope, Pell said he wanted somebody "who'll maintain the tradition, both in faith and especially in morals, where it's under attack".
"And I also would like somebody with strong pastoral experience in a diocese who is able to lift the morale of the Roman Curia, and perhaps provide a bit more discipline."