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.

Atheist's challenge prompts Benedict XVI to break self-imposed silence

Benedict's statement was his first since resigning. Photo: AP

Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI has emerged from his self-imposed silence inside the Vatican walls to publish a lengthy letter to one of Italy's best-known atheists. In it, he denies having covered up for sexually abusive priests and discusses everything from evolution to the figure of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, 26 September, 2013, 4:31am 1 comment

Book review: The Vatican Diaries, by John Thavis

Book review: The Vatican Diaries, by John Thavis

Benedict XVI sprang a huge surprise when he stepped down from his papal office, the first pope in 600 years to do so; he no longer had the energy for his task, he said.

7 Apr 2013 - 4:09pm

Pope meets with Benedict in historic lunch

Pope Francis (left) yesterday embraces Benedict at Castel Gandolfo in Italy, where the latter lives in seclusion. Photo: AP

Pope Francis flew in to a papal residence near Rome yesterday for an unprecedented encounter with "pope emeritus" Benedict - the first time a pontiff has met his predecessor.

24 Mar 2013 - 9:14am

Papal name Francis honours saint who brought Catholicism to Asia

A picture of St Francis Xavier at the Kobe City Museum in Japan

In addition to being the first non-European pope for almost 13 centuries, the new pope's choice of name sets him apart - and establishes a link to the South China coast.

15 Mar 2013 - 3:24am

Victims of clergy sexual abuse say millions of children remain at risk

Pope Francis appears on the balcony of St Peter's Basilica after being elected by the conclave of cardinals. He is the first pope from the Jesuit order and the first from Latin America. Photo: Reuters

Victims of clergy sexual abuse urged newly-elected Pope Francis to reform the Catholic Church and declare "zero tolerance" for sex crimes as his first official act.

15 Mar 2013 - 3:17am

Pope Benedict is gone but not forgotten

The faithful watch on a monitor the chimney on the top of the Sistine Chapel for a sign that the new pope has been chosen. Photo: AP

Pope Benedict is gone but far from forgotten as cardinals begin voting for candidates to replace him, with his personal secretary Georg Gänswein one of the last to leave the Sistine Chapel before the start of the conclave.

14 Mar 2013 - 3:20am

India is Asia's unlikely power broker in election for new pope

A fireman fits a chimney on the roof of the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican from which white smoke will issue to prepare when the conclave of Catholic cardinals elects a successor to Pope Benedict. Photo: Reuters

India's Catholics may account for less than 2 per cent of the country's population but they will be Asia's most powerful voice in the election to choose a new pope.

Five of the nine Asian cardinals with the right to vote at the upcoming papal enclave hail from India, an overwhelmingly Hindu nation where Catholics are also outnumbered by Muslims and Sikhs.

11 Mar 2013 - 6:00am

Vatican sets Tuesday as date for Papal election

US cardinals Raymond Leo Burke and Roger Michael Mahony arrive for an afternoon meeting of pre-conclave on Friday at the Vatican. Photo: AFP

Cardinals have set Tuesday as the start date for the conclave to elect the next pope, signaling that they were wrapping up a week of discussions about the problems of the church and who best among them might lead it.

9 Mar 2013 - 1:17am

Letters to the Editor, March 8, 2013

No need to restrict sales of formula. Photo: Edward Wong

With his sixth budget, Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah failed to alleviate the problem of the wealth gap in Hong Kong. Tsang obviously feels it is important to be cautious, but there are times when you can be over-cautious.

8 Mar 2013 - 3:51am

Clergy sex abuse victims list 'dirty dozen' of likely papal candidates

Cardinals in St Peter's Basilica

Clergy sex abuse victims have listed a "dirty dozen" potential papal candidates and urged the Roman Catholic Church to "get serious" about protecting children, helping victims and exposing corruption.

8 Mar 2013 - 3:14am

Pope's tailor has all cassock sizes stocked for successor

Vestments for the new pope are displayed in the window of Gammarelli, the ecclesiastical tailors in Rome. Photo: Reuters

Making bespoke clothes is tricky when you don't know who will wear them. But Gammarelli, the Roman tailor that has dressed every pope since 1922, gets around that by catering for every eventuality.

6 Mar 2013 - 3:57am

British cardinal's sin 'a severe blow' to church

Cardinal Keith O'Brien sits at a desk at his home in Edinburgh. Photo: Reuters

Cardinal Keith O'Brien, who resigned last week as the head of the Catholic Church in Scotland, admitted on Sunday that his sexual conduct had "fallen below the standards expected of me".

6 Mar 2013 - 3:47am

Cardinals begin pre-conclave talks on electing pope in Vatican

Italian Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, arrives for the start of the talks. Photo: EPA

Even before the discussions began, the first day was overshadowed by revelations of another scandal, with Scottish Cardinal Keith O'Brien (pictured) admitting that he had engaged in sexual misconduct not befitting a priest, archbishop or a person of his position.

5 Mar 2013 - 2:42am

Stinging words for pope from top Australian cleric George Pell

Cardinal George Pell. Photo: AP

Australia's most senior Catholic, Cardinal George Pell, has criticised Pope Benedict, describing his historic resignation as destabilising and questioning his governance skills.

1 Mar 2013 - 3:53am

Talking points

Draw held for subsidised homes at Greenview Villa

Almost 60,000 applicants are eagerly waiting to find out if their number has come up in the ballot for flats in the Housing Society's latest project. Some 988 flats will become available at Greenview Villa in Tsing Yi.

28 Feb 2013 - 3:37am