Born in 1927 in Germany, Joseph Ratzinger became head of the Roman Catholic church in April 2005. A prolific author, theologian, and professor, Ratzinger served as an expert at the Second Vatican Council; led the German Archdiocese of Munich and Freising; and, in 1981, was called to Rome by Pope John Paul II to head the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, where he served until his papal election. In 2013, he became the first pontiff in almost 600 years to resign office.
"This work reflects the characteristically careful and erudite scholarship of Ratzinger, and even at a remove of more that fifty years, is still as inportant contribution to contemporary scholarly and ecclesiastical conversations."--Michael Heintz, Univ Notre Dame, Religious Studies Review