He was born in Martkl, Bavaria, April 16, 1927. After living around for a while, he enrolled in Hitler's Nazi youth when he was 14 years of age. Whether he was a devout member of the Nazi Youth is constantly debated, but it must be noted that it was obligatory for every young man over 14 years old. That being said, he had somehow evaded the Deutsche Jungvolk (Younger sort of Nazi Youth), so it's still strange as to why he came out to join the Nazi Youth. After that, he joined the army, and he claimed never to have fired a shot and never participated in combat. He then deserted and became a prisoner of war. The thing is, he did so in April 1945, when the end of the war was quite close. Now, I am not suggesting that he ever supported the Nazis, but I am merely stating that he could have possibly done more. Pope John Paul II was Polish, his country got it worse during the war, and he participated in anti-Nazi theater acts. Nevertheless...
|In complete fairness, I would have found it hard to resist, too. You can't escape a death machine like the Nazi army.|
After the war he entered a seminary along with his brother Georg Ratzinger, and he got involved in many theologician matters. He then became archbishop of Munich and Freisig, then Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, until 2005, when Pope John Paul II passed away. Now, before I go on, let me tell you what I think about Pope John Paul II. He was, as a person, a very peaceful, graceful man, and when the time of WWII came, he was very brave indeed. As a leader of the Church, he was humble, and one of his good deeds was acknowledging evolution as "more than just a theory", and not covering up the atrocities the Church made, but apologizing for them. Now, of course, he used to be a conservative man, and I didn't agree with his views on womens' ordinations, abortion, and other matters. Something impressive from him, though, was his stance on homosexuality, stating that even though he defended opposition for same sex marriage, he said that homosexuals have the same inherent dignity and rights as everybody else. Hell, he's even helped take down some dictatorships. Talk about activism.
|I seriously loved this man as a kid.|
|He worked hard, played hard.|
|And he went on, and on, all the way -|
|-until the end.|
Now, Pope Benedict XVI, on the other hand, didn't dwell unto such important matters for the Church, but he took care of some smaller problems. One that had been generating a lot of controversy for the church, for example, was the sexual abuse problem. There were some priests that for some reason were engaging in pedophilic acts, and he chased down and expelled some of the offenders, such as Father Maciel, the founder of the Legion of Christ, who had supposedly maintained relationships with two women and had abused a few children, including two of his six alleged sons. Now, Benedict's main preaching game was called "Friendship with Jesus", which is exactly what you think it is; having a more personal relationship with Jesus Christ. He's also against abortion and same sex marriage, and surprisingly, has expressed his views against relativism.
|He was quite the jolly man, though.|
So, yeah, he wasn't a good Pope, but he wasn't a bad Pope either. That being said, he didn't have much time to do papal matters, having been elected Pope at the age of 78. His giving up, though, is something that the world will have a hard time getting over. How come, since John Paul II kept going on even when he couldn't lift his head out of fatigue? Well, he's supposedly losing his mental faculties and he himself admits that he's on his final days, so, there's not much that can be done about that. Yes, he wasn't a bad guy, but yes, he could have done better.
|That being said, it's been a good run, so long, Ratzinger.|
Now, it's not a real goodbye without some of the funny pictures that have arisen thanks to this pope's strange unphotogenic aura.
In nomine Patris et Fili et Spiritus Sancti,
videre tibi posterius.