Editorial image. Not to be used in commercial designs and/or advertisements. Click here for terms and conditions.
Pope Benedict XVI, born Joseph Alois Ratzinger on 16 April 1927) is the 265th and reigning Pope, by virtue of his office of Bishop of Rome, the spiritual head of the Roman Catholic Church, and as such, Sovereign of the Vatican City State. He was elected on 19 April 2005 in a papal conclave, celebrated his Papal Inauguration Mass on 24 April 2005, and took possession of his cathedral, the Basilica of St. John Lateran, on 7 May 2005. Pope Benedict XVI has both German and Vatican citizenship. He succeeded Pope John Paul II.
Benedict XVI is a respected Roman Catholic theologian and a prolific bestselling author, a defender of traditional Catholic doctrine and values. He served as a professor at various German universities and was a theological consultant at the Second Vatican Council before becoming Archbishop of Munich and Freising and later a Cardinal. At the time of his election as Pope, Benedict had been Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (curial heads lose their positions upon the death of a pope) and was Dean of the College of Cardinals.
During his papacy, Benedict XVI has emphasized what he sees as a need for Europe to return to fundamental Christian values in response to increasing de-Christianisation and secularisation in many developed countries. For this reason, he proclaims relativism's denial of objective truth—and more particularly, the denial of moral truths—as the central problem of the 21st century. He teaches the importance for .