Factbox: Pope to face cheers, jeers on German homecoming

Wed Sep 21, 2011 6:11pm EDT
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(Reuters) - Pope Benedict visits his native Germany from Thursday for the third time since becoming head of the Catholic Church in 2005.

Below are some key facts about his visit:


Born Joseph Ratzinger in Bavaria in 1927, he was a liberal theologian at the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) but later became a conservative theology professor. Named archbishop of Munich and Freising in 1977, he became a cardinal and in 1981 was appointed Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a key position in the Vatican.

The 84-year-old pontiff has visited Germany twice since his election in April 2005. Four months later, he visited Cologne for World Youth Day and condemned anti-semitism during a synagogue visit.

In 2006 he toured Bavaria and held a speech in Regensburg which angered Muslims around the world with comments seen as depicting Islam as an intolerant and violent religion.

In 2009, he readmitted a Holocaust-denying bishop into the Church, earning a rare reprimand from Chancellor Angela Merkel's


Martin Luther launched the Reformation in the early 16th century as a protest against corruption in the Catholic Church. He wrote his "95 Theses" against indulgences in 1517 and later translated the Bible into German, which both spread his view of the faith and helped develop the modern German language.   Continued...