Pope Benedict XVI: From 2005 to 2013, the Bavarian was the head of the Roman Catholic Church.
Since his resignation, he has mostly lived a secluded life, but has repeatedly drawn attention to himself with sometimes controversial statements.
A review in pictures.
Photo: Tony Gentile / Reuters
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The Argentinian Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected as Benedict's successor in March 2013.
He is the first Latin American to hold the office -- and the first head of the Catholic Church to take the name Francis.
The picture shows the two men in December 2013.
Photo: DPA/ Osservatore Romano
Even after his retirement, Benedict lived in the Vatican.
The former pope occasionally appeared at public events.
So he took part in the canonization of his predecessors John Paul II and John XXIII.
in April 2014.
Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/ AFP
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Despite health problems, he embarked on his first trip abroad since retiring in June 2020.
In Regensburg he visited his seriously ill brother Georg Ratzinger shortly before his death.
The picture shows the former Pope with his private secretary Georg Gänswein, Bavaria's Prime Minister Markus Söder (left) and Regensburg's Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer (right).
Photo: Sven Hoppe/ AFP
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When he resigned, Benedict XVI promised
to remain "hidden from the world" in the future and to be obedient to the new pope - he usually, but not always, did so.
The picture shows him with his successor Francis in June 2017.
Photo: HO/OSSERVATORE ROMANO/AFP
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In 2020, the book »From the Depths of Our Hearts«, which he is said to have written together with the conservative Cardinal Robert Sarah, caused a great deal of attention.
The book is a polemic for celibacy - and an affront to Pope Francis.
later denied co-authorship.
Photo: GONZALO FUENTES/ REUTERS
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Benedict's resignation was a step unprecedented in modern church history.
Because only a few popes have resigned in the almost 2000-year history of the church - and if they did, then such a departure during their lifetime was usually not voluntary, but usually forced.
Photo: Serena Cremaschi / dpa
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announced his resignation before cardinals on February 11, 2013.
In today's rapidly changing world, "physical as well as mental strength" is necessary to stand at the head of the Catholic Church, the Pope said.
The Vatican published this and the two following recordings on the day of the historic decision.
AFP/ Osservatore Romano
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Benedict continued: "Aware of the seriousness of this act, I therefore declare with complete freedom that I renounce the office of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Peter, entrusted to me by the hand of the Cardinals on April 19, 2005, so that from February 28, 2013, at 8 p.m., the episcopal see of Rome, the see of St. Peter, will be vacant and the conclave for the election of the new pope must be called by those who have jurisdiction over it.”
Photo: AFP/ Osservatore Romano
In his address, Benedict said in Latin that he felt the weight of the task of holding this office, had thought long and hard about his decision and made it for the good of the Church.
Photo: AFP/ Osservatore Romano
Joseph Ratzinger was elected Pope in April 2005.
Here he waves to believers in St. Peter's Square.
Photo: ARTURO MARI/ AFP
A famous headline: "We are Pope," headlined the "Bild" newspaper at the time.
Photo: Sean Gallup/ Getty Images
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The 265th successor of Saint Peter took the name Benedict XVI.
Ratzinger was the first German in the Holy See for almost 500 years.
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He thus became the successor to the late John Paul II, who prays under a cross here in April 2003.
The German was previously Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Photo: DANILO SCHIAVELLA/ AFP
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Child photo: Joseph Ratzinger was born on April 16, 1927 in Marktl am Inn.
This picture is from 1932.
Photo: Archdiocese of Munich and Freising / AFP
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This class photo was taken in 1935.
It shows ten-year-old Joseph Ratzinger in the front row (second from left).
He attended school in Aschau am Inn.
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The Ratzinger family (1951): Joseph (top right) with his four-year-old brother Georg (top left), his sister Maria (bottom left) and parents Maria and Joseph.
Photo: ARCHBISHOP MUNICH AND FREISING / AFP
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From 1946 to 1951 Joseph Ratzinger (right) studied theology, first at the Philosophical-Theological College in Freising and then at the University of Munich.
On June 29, 1951, he and his brother were ordained priests in Freising.
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In 1952 Ratzinger held a mountain mass in Ruhpolding.
A year later he received his doctorate in theology with a thesis on the subject of "The people and house of God in Augustine's teaching on the church".
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Joseph Ratzinger in the summer of 1960 in the library of the seminary in Bonn: the year before he had been appointed to the Chair of Fundamental Theology at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität.
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Between 1962 and 1965, Cardinal Josef Frings (right) of Cologne took the young Ratzinger with him to the Second Vatican Council as an adviser and speechwriter.
This suddenly increased Ratzinger's reputation in church circles.
Photo: ARCHBISHOP MUNICH AND FREISING / AFP
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Joseph Ratzinger was founded by Pope Paul VI in 1977.
appointed archbishop of Munich and Freising.
Photo: Archdiocese of Munich and Freising / DPA
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In his first sermon after the ceremonial consecration as archbishop on May 28, 1977 in Munich's Liebfrauendom, Ratzinger took up his motto "Co-workers in truth" and asked: "Let us be church, let us all be workers in truth."
Photo: Hartmut Reeh / dpa
In the same year Ratzinger rose to cardinal - and was celebrated in Munich.
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Pope John Paul II, on November 19, 1980 in Munich, behind him Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger: Almost a year later, Ratzinger was summoned to Rome as Curial Cardinal and appointed Prefect of the Roman Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the highest authority for the interpretation and defense of Catholic doctrine.
The German was one of the pontiff's closest associates for more than two decades.
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The high point of his ecclesiastical career was his election as Pope.
Although Ratzinger himself said he "prayed that someone else would be elected," the fourth-round conclave made him pontiff by a two-thirds majority.
He is seen here after the inauguration mass in St. Peter's Square (April 24, 2005).
Photo: JERRY LAMPEN/ REUTERS
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At the beginning of April 2005, millions of believers wept for the charismatic Polish pontiff, their John Paul II, who died at the age of 84 after a terrible illness.
Here Ratzinger blesses the coffin of the deceased during the funeral service in the Vatican.
Photo: KAI PFAFFENBACH/ REUTERS
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The Pope near his summer residence in Les Combes in July 2005. Benedict and his predecessor John Paul II spent several holidays here.
In 2017, the papal summer residence was then put up for sale.
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August 18-21, 2005: Pope Benedict XVI
visits Germany on his first trip abroad.
He celebrates a service in front of a million pilgrims on World Youth Day on Cologne's Marienfeld.
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Publication of the first encyclical "Deus caritas est" (God is love): The teaching letter emphasizes the central importance of love and mercy for the coexistence of people and the action of the church.
Benedict XVI signs here.
in January 2006 the encyclical in the presence of Archbishop Leonardo Sandri.
Photo: OSSERVATORE ROMANO/ REUTERS
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May 28, 2006: On his trip to Poland, Benedict XVI.
the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz.
The speech he gave there caused irritation - the German Pope did not speak of guilt, but said his people had been "abused by a gang of criminals".
Photo: PAWEL KOPCZYNSKI/ REUTERS
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September 2006: The Pope meets Chancellor Angela Merkel and Federal President Horst Koehler in Munich.
When visiting his Bavarian homeland, Benedict XVI quotes
in Regensburg the Byzantine Emperor Manuel II from the 14th century, according to which the Muslim prophet Mohammed brought »only bad and inhuman things«.
Taken out of context, the quote sparked worldwide protests from Muslims.
Photo: Lars Baron/ Getty Images
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Protest in the Iraqi city of Basra, a few days after the Pope's Regensburg speech in September 2006
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prays in front of the tomb of John Paul I: Ratzinger wanted to preserve the unity of the church.
And that's why, despite all the criticism, he stuck to the values he saw as essential for survival.
For example, long-demanded reforms, such as celibacy or sexual morality, did not materialize under him.
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His life's work was damaged when a comprehensive report on decades of sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising was published in early 2022.
In it, the experts accuse Ratzinger of four breaches of duty during his time as Archbishop of Munich.
Among other things, he is said to have been at least jointly responsible for the admission of a priest who was already known to be a paedo-criminal - and then continued to abuse children and young people in the pastoral care of the Archdiocese of Munich.
Benedikt denies having known about the man's history and that he was not aware that he would be used again in pastoral care.
The Pope Emeritus addressed a "sincere apology" to all victims of abuse.
He had great responsibility in the Catholic Church.
Photo: STEFAN WERMUTH/ REUTERS