Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI (16 April 1927 - 31 December 2022)
Benedict XVI, Joseph Ratzinger, who died on 31 December 2022, was one of the most influential figures in the Catholic Church during the late twentieth century and the first years of the twenty first. He developed a reputation for steely determination and rigorous pursuit of the truth, even to the extent of constraining theological exploration and pursuing those individuals he saw as trespassing beyond the pale during his years as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. As Pope, he presided over a Church that often seemed ill at ease with itself, increasingly divided over the liturgy and shamed by the failure of its bishops to deal with the scandal of child abuse. He attracted controversy and surprised both his supporters and his detractors. But nothing matched the shock of his announcement of his resignation in February 2013, the first by a pope for several hundred years.