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Pope Benedict XVIi

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.

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Ex-Pope Benedict was the first pontiff in 600 years to resign, leaving behind a Catholic Church battered by scandal and mismanagement.

Once dubbed ‘God’s Rottweiler’, Pope Benedict XVI was criticised for failing to end Church cover-ups of child abuse and became the first pontiff to resign in six centuries

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Former pope John Paul I was the shortest-serving pontiff in modern church history, serving for just 33 days in 1978 before he died of a heart attack.

He was secretary of state under John Paul II and Benedict XVI – holding the number two post in the Vatican hierarchy for 16 years between 1990 and 2006; he was accused of covering up one of the Catholic Church’s most notorious sex abusers.

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Pope Benedict XVI, served as the archbishop Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Munich from 1977 to 1982, when he failed to punish or discipline in four cases of abuse.

Retired former pope Benedict sought to calm a dispute within the Vatican, claiming his name was erroneously attributed as co-author to a new book with a conservative cardinal.

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He had promised to remain ‘hidden from the world’ when he retired in 2013 and pledged his obedience to the new pope. But retired Pope Benedict has broken his silence by co-authoring a bombshell book.

Playing Pope Benedict and XVI and Pope Francis respectively, Hopkins and Pryce shine whenever The Two Popes sees the pair banter and gently argue about everything from the finer points of Catholic theology to the Beatles.

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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".

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.

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.

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

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.

Hongkongers will be keeping one eye on their wallets and another on the television as Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah delivers his budget plan. Tsang is expected to take advantage of the healthy surplus in the government account to offer handouts and tax breaks, although government sources have hinted that these will be less generous than last year's.

O'Brien announced in November that he was planning to resign in view of his 75th birthday next month, but he said on Monday: "The Holy Father has now decided that my resignation will take effect today, 25 February."

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Casting a shadow over his appearance, however, were allegations of "inappropriate behaviour" by Britain's most senior Catholic cleric, Cardinal Keith O'Brien.

The government is sending out conflicting signals. On the one hand, we face a shortage of everything: we compete for hospital beds, milk powder, school places, housing, and even when we die, we compete for a place for our ashes.

Vatican spokesman the Reverent Federico Lombardi said that Vatican rules on papal succession are open to interpretation and that “this is a question that people are discussing.”

The Jockey Club's Lunar New Year celebration smashed all records for the occasion as crowds packed Sha Tin racecourse on Tuesday.

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. 

But improved ties between the church and Al-Azhar, the premier seat of Sunni Muslim learning, would depend on the next pope's approach to the Muslim world, the clerics said.

Benedict was the most intelligent man to be pope in centuries, probably the best theologian, a wonderful writer, and personally charming; but as both cardinal and pope, he was burdened by his lofty view of the responsibilities of office.

Government proposals to implement the new Companies Ordinance and reinforce the privacy company directors already enjoy have aroused a lot of opposition from the media.

The 85-year-old pontiff announced on Monday that old age had sapped him of the strength required to lead the world's 1.1 billion Catholics. Benedict had a heart pacemaker installed some time ago but was not suffering from poor health, a Vatican spokesman said. It had not been generally known that the 85-year-old pope had been fitted with a pacemaker.

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The US Conference of Catholic Bishops says that since 1950, more than 6,100 priests have been accused of paedophilia. About 16,000 victims have been identified, and US$2.5 billion has been spent on damages or rehabilitation therapy.

Following is an English translation of the declaration Pope Benedict gave in Latin at a meeting of cardinals in the Vatican.

Bangladesh will buy its first submarines to boost its naval power in the Bay of Bengal, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed said, only days after she signed the country's largest defence deal. The announcement is the latest sign of Hasina's willingness to spend heavily on defence, coming only nine days after she signed a US$1 billion arms deal in Russia. Hasina did not give details of how many submarines would be purchased or from where, but an army general has said Bangladesh is in negotiations with China.

Pope Benedict has appointed the Holy See's first ambassador to Malaysia, 18 months after the two sides established diplomatic relations, Prime Minister Najib Razak said. The appointment of Archbishop Joseph Marino as the first Apostolic Nuncio to Malaysia comes amid continued tensions between Christians and Muslims in the country. 

Colombian leftist rebels faced a new deadline for striking a peace deal with the government after President Juan Manuel Santos warned they have until November to reach a negotiated end to Latin America's longest-running insurgency. 

The trial this week of a Vatican computer whiz over his alleged role in an embarrassing scandal of filched confidential papal documents is offering a chance for an insider glimpse at the Holy See’s security workings. Among those expected to testify in the trial, which begins on Monday in a Vatican City tribunal, are the pope’s top bodyguard, a commander of the legendary Swiss Guards and a Vatican security official connected to an Italian company with expertise in detecting eavesdropping devices.