(b. 1927) German cleric
Pope (2005– ). After teaching theology at the universities of Bonn, Münster, and Tübingen, he was appointed Archbishop of Munich and Freising and created a cardinal in 1977. Pope John Paul II appointed him Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith – formerly the Inquisition – in 1981, in which post Ratzinger gained a reputation as a conservative enforcer of doctrinal uniformity. He became dean of the College of Cardinals in 2002 and so played a prominent part in the funeral of John Paul II in 2005; he was quickly elected to succeed him. Seeing himself as John Paul's heir, Benedict has largely continued his predecessor's policies, but has not sought to emulate his flamboyant style.