Former Pope Joseph Ratzinger dead at 95

Jospeh Ratzinger, who presided over the Roman Catholic Church as Pope Benedict XVI from 2005 until his virtually unprecedented resignation in 2013, is dead at 95.

Pope Francis will preside over Benedict's funeral on Thursday at St. Peter's Square, the Vatican said. Born April 16, 1927, in Germany's Bavaria, Joseph Ratzinger was a theologian by training. Following the death of Pope John Paul II in 2005, Ratzinger was elected his successor after serving for a quarter of a century as the Vatican's top enforcer of orthodoxy. He was the first German pope since the 11th century.

Ratzinger's papal abdication was the first since the 15th century, when Pope Gregory XII formally renounced the Holy See to resolve the Western Schism. But that situation, with multiple candidates claiming to be pope, was as unique as the current one, with a pope whose priorities as "enforcer" made a mockery of the term.