Pope Benedict XVI (or in Italian Benedetto XVI) born Joseph Alios Ratzinger on 16th April 1927 in Bavaria, Germany is the 265th and reigning Pope of the Catholic Church and as such also Sovereign of the Vatican City State. Elected on April 19th 2005 he succeeded Pope John Paul II who died 2nd April 2005.
2006 was a busy year for the new Pope including Apostolic journeys to Poland, Spain, Bavaria (Germany) and Turkey. It also saw for the 1st time in 5 years an offical delegation visit China in June.
Unfortunately 2006 was also a problematic year for the Pope and his church. many issues arised during the year however the biggest followed a lecture delivered by the Pope in September at the University of Regansbury in Germany. During the lecture the Pope quoted the passage
"show me just what Muhammed brought that was new and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, as as command to spread by the sword the faith that he preached"
which was written in 1391 as an expression of views of the Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Paleologus. This was not well recieved by Islamic politicians and religious leaders and led to numerous protests.