Pope Benedict legacy: Teacher who returned to church roots
He insisted that the 1962-65 meetings that brought the church into the modern era were not a radical break from the past, as portrayed by many liberals, but rather a continuation of the best traditions of the 2,000-year-old church.
Benedict was the teacher pope, a theology professor who turned his Wednesday general audiences into master classes about the Catholic faith and the history, saints and sinners that contributed to it.
In his teachings, he sought to boil Christianity down to its essential core. He didn't produce volumes of encyclicals like his predecessor, just three: on charity, hope and love. (He penned a fourth, on faith, but retired before finishing it.)
Considered by many to be the greatest living theologian, he authored more than 65 books, stretching from the classic ``Introduction to Christianity'' in 1968 to the final installment of his triptych on ``Jesus of Nazareth'' last year _ considered by some to be his most important contribution to the church. In between he produced the ``Catechism of the Catholic Church'' _ essentially a how-to guide to being a Catholic.
Benedict spent the bulk of his early career in the classroom, as a student and then professor of dogma and fundamental theology at universities in Bonn, Muenster, Tuebingen and Regensburg, Germany.
``His classrooms were crowded,'' recalled the Rev. Joseph Fessio, a theology student of Ratzinger's at the University of Regensburg from 1972-74, and now the English-language
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