At one point, the young Joseph Ratzinger looked like a budding church reformer. By the time he abdicated as pope this week, he had become one of the stoutest defenders of Catholic tradition.
Pope Benedict's legacy may be a willingness to let liberal Catholics leave in favor of a more orthodox church in the US and Europe.
Pope Benedict XVI is starting his visit to Germany in Berlin, which is divided over his address to the Bundestag as well as his views on such issues as homosexuality and women's role in the church.
Pope Benedict's view that there might be rare cases where condom use is acceptable comes at a time when the Catholic church's image in Europe has been battered by child abuse scandals.
Pope Benedict XVI said it's 'necessary to perform penance' in response to public outrage at revelations of sexual abuse by Catholic priests. But some analysts say those hoping for change are up against a deeply conservative hierarchy.