His Holiness, Pope
officially in Latin Benedictus PP. XVI (alt: BENEDICTVM XVI),
born Joseph Ratzinger (born April 16, 1927) was elected Pope of
the Roman Catholic Church on April 19, 2005.
In 1981 Cardinal
Ratzinger was appointed prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of
the Faith by Pope John Paul II, made a Cardinal Bishop of the Episcopal
see of Velletri-Segni in 1993, and was elected Dean of the College of
Cardinals in 2002, becoming titular bishop of Ostia.
He was already one of the
most influential men in the Vatican and a close associate of the late
Pope John Paul II before he became pope, and also presided over the
funeral of John Paul II and the Conclave in 2005. During the sede
vacante, he was the highest-ranking official in the Catholic Church.