Pope Benedict XVI: A diehard traditionalist and lightning rod of controversy
VATICAN CITY (AFP) - Pope Benedict XVI, who on Monday announced his intention to resign this month, will be remembered as a staunch defender of Roman Catholic orthodoxy, a diehard traditionalist and a lightning rod for controversy.
The German intellectual succeeded the long-reigning and popular John Paul II in April 2005, aged 78, after serving nearly a quarter-century as the Church's doctrinal enforcer, earning himself the nickname "God's Rottweiler".
The 85-year-old, who cited his age for preventing him from continuing at the head of the papacy, will be the first pope to do so in centuries.
"I have had to recognise my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me," the head of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics said as he announced in a statement that he would step down on Feb 28.