Feb 11 2013 By Cheryl Mullin
He was once viewed as a progressive within the Catholic Church and played a key role in the reforming Vatican II, the meeting between 1963 and 1965 that introduced sweeping reforms to the church.
It is believed that his experience of Marxist unrest amongst students in the theology faculty in Tubingen, southern Germany, in 1968 where he was a professor contributed to his conservative outlook.
In private, the Pope is known to be an accomplished pianist and a lover of Mozart.
He is also a cat lover and, as Cardinal Ratzinger, was known to have looked after stray cats in Rome.