Ratzinger becomes Pope Benedict XVI

Tens of thousands of people on St Peter's Square roared and applauded as white smoke emerged from a thin copper chimney atop the Sistine Chapel at 1:49 am this morning Sydney time, before the bells of the Basilica began pealing continuously 15 minutes later to confirm the election.

German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the 78-year-old guardian of the church's doctrine for the last 24 years, was elected the 265th pope and took the name Benedict XVI.

Appearing at the central window of St. Peter's Basilica, the newly elected pope smiled as he was greeted by a cheering, flag-waving crowd of nearly 100,000 people.

"After the great John Paul II, the cardinals elected me, a simple, humble worker in the vineyard of the Lord," Pope Benedict said, in a brief talk broadcast around the world.

"I am consoled by the fact that the Lord can work and act even through insufficient instruments, and I especially entrust myself to your prayers," he said.

"In the joy of the risen Lord, and trusting in his permanent help, we go forward. The Lord will help us, and Mary his most holy mother is on our side. Thank you," he said.

Then Pope Benedict gave his blessing to the city of Rome and to the world. He stood and listened to the endless applause that followed, smiling and raising his hands above his head.

Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls announced that the solemn Mass for the new pope's installation would take place on Sunday. He also said Pope Benedict would dine with the cardinals at their Vatican residence the evening of his election, stay at the residence that night and celebrate Mass with them the next morning in the Sistine Chapel.

Pope Benedict was the first German pope since Pope Victor II, who reigned from 1055-1057. It was the second conclave in a row to elect a non-Italian pope, after Italians had held the papacy for more than 450 years.

The new pope was chosen by at least a two-thirds majority of 115 cardinals from 52 countries, who cast their ballots in secret in the Sistine Chapel.

The election came on the second day of the voting, presumably on the fourth ballot. It was a surprisingly quick conclusion of a conclave that began with many potential candidates and no clear favorite.

The day before, Cardinal Ratzinger had opened the conclave with a stern warning about moral relativism and ideological currents that had buffeted the church in recent decades.

"The small boat of thought of many Christians has often been tossed about by these waves -- thrown from one extreme to the other: from Marxism to liberalism, even to libertinism; from collectivism to radical individualism; from atheism to a vague religious mysticism; from agnosticism to syncretism," he said.

"Every day new sects are created and what St. Paul says about human trickery comes true, with cunning which tries to draw people into error," he said. Having a clear faith today is often labeled "fundamentalism," he said.

As the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith since 1981, Pope Benedict was on the front lines of numerous theological and pastoral controversies. He was described by Vatican officials who worked with him as a kind and prayerful theologian and a gentler man than the one often portrayed in the media as an inquisitor.

Pope Benedict's election was announced in Latin to a waiting world from the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica. A massive crowd of young and old filled St. Peter's Square and welcomed the news with cheers and waves of applause.

White smoke poured from the Sistine Chapel chimney at 5:49 pm local time signaling that the cardinals had chosen a successor to Pope John Paul II. At 6:04 pm, the bells of St. Peter's Basilica began pealing continuously.

At 6:40 p.m., Chilean Cardinal Jorge Medina Estevez, the senior cardinal in the order of deacons, appeared at the basilica balcony and intoned to the crowd in Latin: "Dear brothers and sisters, I announce to you a great joy. We have a pope."

He continued: "The most eminent and reverend lordship, Lord Joseph Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church Ratzinger."

The crowd in the square burst into applause. Some jumped for joy, some knelt to pray and some simply stood and watched.

During their pre-conclave meetings, journalists tracked Cardinal Ratzinger's rising status among cardinal-electors, but most sources doubted he would obtain the 77 votes needed to win. He was seen as divisive by some in the church, and many thought the cardinals would choose someone with more pastoral experience.

In the end, the cardinals turned to a man who offered doctrinal firmness, a sharp intellect and a clear vision of the threats facing the church and the faith.

In the days before and after the pope's death, he emphasized his concerns about the urgent challenges facing the church.

In meditations written for the Way of the Cross at the Rome Colosseum on Good Friday, March 25, he said too many Catholics continue to scorn and scourge Jesus in his church.

"Christ suffers in his own church," he said. He described "the falling of many Christians away from Christ and into a godless secularism," but also the fall of those Catholics who abuse the sacraments or their positions in the church.

"How much filth there is in the church, and even among those who, in the priesthood, ought to belong entirely to him," he wrote. He said the church often seems like "a boat about to sink, a boat taking in water on every side."

"The soiled garments and face of your church throw us into confusion. Yet it is we ourselves who have soiled them! It is we who betray you time and time again," he wrote.

"Have mercy on your church," he prayed. "When we fall, we drag you down to earth, and Satan laughs, for he hopes that you will not be able to rise from that fall; he hopes that being dragged down in the fall of your church, you will remain prostrate and overpowered."

At Pope John Paul's funeral, Cardinal Ratzinger spoke movingly of the late pontiff, telling a crowd of several hundred thousand: "We can be sure that our beloved pope is standing today at the window of the Father's house, that he sees us and blesses us."

Born in Marktl am Inn April 16, 1927, his priestly studies began early but were interrupted by World War II.

While he was a seminarian, school officials enrolled him in the Hitler Youth program, but he soon stopped going to meetings. After being drafted in 1943 he served for a year on an anti-aircraft unit that tracked Allied bombardments. At the end of the war he spent time in a U.S. prisoner-of-war camp before being released.

Ordained in 1951, he received a doctorate and a licentiate in theology from the University of Munich, where he studied until 1957. He taught dogma and fundamental theology at the University of Freising in 1958-59, then lectured at the University of Bonn, 1959-1969, at Munster, 1963-66, and at Tubingen from 1966 to 1969. In 1969 he was appointed professor of dogma and of the history of dogmas at the University of Regensburg, where he also served as vice president until 1977.

A theological consultant to West German Cardinal Joseph Frings, he attended the Second Vatican Council as an expert or "peritus." At the council, he was said to have played an influential role in discussions among the German-speaking participants and gained a reputation as a progressive theologian.

He was named a member of the International Theological Commission in 1969. Pope Paul VI appointed him archbishop of Munich and Freising in 1977 and named him a cardinal later that year.

Cardinal Ratzinger, guardian of church doctrine, elected 265th pope (Catholic News Service 19/4/05)
New pope elected, Vatican rejoices (Agence France-Presse/Yahoo 19/4/05)

In quotes: Reaction to Pope election (BBC 19/4/05)
Vatican radio confirms new Pope elected (Irish Times 19/4/05)
Taoiseach welcomes new Pope (Irish Times 19/4/05)
Cardinal carried out doctrinal crackdowns (Irish Times 19/4/05)
Ratzinger a close confidant of John Paul II (CNN 19/4/05)
Pope Benedict XVI (Wikipedia)
Ratzinger in Charge of Doctrine Crackdowns (The-Review.com 19/4/05)
New pope presented to the world (The Wharf 19/4/05)
Smoke confuses conclave crowd (BBC 19/4/05)
Appointment of new Pope welcomed [by Irish Archbishop] (BBC 19/4/05)
Scotland welcomes Pope's election (BBC 19/4/05)
Jubilation from Seminarians in Pope's Hometown (The Scotsman 19/4/05)
Pray for the New Pope, Urges Irish Archbishop (The Scotsman 19/4/05)
Ratzinger Papa
The Pope Blog: Pope Benedict XVI
Joseph Ratzinger: A Gift to the Church? (Beliefnet 19/4/05)
Huge ovation as Ratzinger elected Pope (ABC News 19/4/05)
Profile of new Pope: Joseph Ratzinger (ABC News 19/4/05)
White smoke signals new Pope (AsiaNews.it 19/4/05)
Joseph Ratzinger elected new Pope (AsiaNews.it 19/4/05)
Benedict XVI: a biography (AsiaNews.it 19/4/05)
India: "Catholics promise the new Pope their love and obedience" (AsiaNews.it 19/4/05)
The Life and Career of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (Beliefnet 19/4/05)
White Smoke. Habemus Papam (Catholic News Agency 19/4/05)
Welcome Benedict XVI! (Catholic News Agency 19/4/05)
Pope Benedict XVI Until Now Josef Cardinal Ratzinger is the 265th Pope (Catholic Bishops Conference of India 19/4/05)
Ratzinger becomes Pope Benedict XVI - the 265th Pope (Christian Today 19/4/05)
Ratzinger Elected Pope -- Benedict XVI
The missionary world finds its place in the exhortation by Cardinal Ratzinger at the Mass "for the election of the Roman Pontiff": "We must be filled with holy restlessness to carry to all the gift of the faith...love and friendship of God given to us so it may reach everyone" (Fides 18/4/05)
'A man of tremendous depth' (The Guardian 19/4/05)
White Smoke, Bells Signal Election of Pope (The Guardian/Associated Press 19/4/05)
Facts on the Pope's Titles and Duties (The Guardian/Associated Press 19/4/05)
New Pope Elected on Second Day of Conclave (The Guardian/Associated Press 19/4/05)
German Cardinal Ratzinger Elected Pope (The Herald-Sun Durham North Carolina/Associated Press 19/4/05)
Habemus Papam! (Independent Catholic News/Vatican Radio 19/4/05)
CAFOD welcomes Pope Benedict XVI (Independent Catholic News 19/4/05)
Statement from the British Jesuits on the Election of Pope Benedict XVI (Jesuits in Europe 19/4/05)
Cardinal Ratzinger Elected as 265th Pope of the Catholic Church - Pope Benedict XVI (LifeSite 19/4/05)
White smoke, bells ringing? habemus papam, we have a pope (Missionary Service News Agency 19/4/05)
New pope: thousands expect his first appearance (Missionary Service News Agency 19/4/05)
Habemus papam: Benedict XVI (Missionary Service News Agency 19/4/05)
Habemus papam: "a humble worker in the vine of the lord" (Missionary Service News Agency 19/4/05)
Habemus papam: biographical notes on Benedict XVI (Missionary Service News Agency 19/4/05)
New pope a conservative who divided Germans (MSNBC 19/4/05)
And the crowd goes wild (MSNBC 19/4/05)
Text of Pope Benedict's first greeting to world (MSNBC 19/4/05)
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger elected Pope Benedict XVI (National Catholic Reporter 19/4/05)
New pope risked death by deserting in WWII (Associated Press/newsobserver.com 19/4/05)
What Name will the New Pope Choose? (Online Catholics 20/4/05)
The Art of the Sacred (Online Catholics 20/4/05)
Bishop Geoffrey Robinson: A new pope (Online Catholics 20/4/05)
Ratzinger elected Pope (Online Catholics 20/4/05)
Germany's Ratzinger is Pope Benedict XVI (Agence France-Presse/Outlook Indina 19/4/05)
German conservative new Pope (Sydney Morning Herald 20/4/05)
Ratzinger a strict defender of orthodoxy (Sydney Morning Herald 20/4/05)
John Paul's confidante will continue his legacy (London Telegraph 19/4/05)
White smoke signals new pope (The Age 20/4/05)
New Pope for the future (The Rundown 19/4/05)
Pope Benedict's XVI's 1st Public Greeting (Zenit 18/4/05 - temporary url)
Pope's Advice to the One Elected (Zenit 18/4/05 - temporary url)
Cardinals continue search for pope (ABC TV Lateline 19/4/05)
Vatican watcher discusses papal contenders (ABC TV Lateline 19/4/05)
Thousands watch for Vatican's puff of smoke (ABC Radio PM 19/4/05)
Process of picking new pope underway (ABC Radio The World Today 19/4/05)
Desmond O'Grady - Rome Diary 3: Ratzinger Boys vs the Tettamanzi tigers (Online Catholics 20/4/05)
Pell papacy would divide church: priest (Sydney Morning Herald 20/4/05)
Pope Pell? No thanks, he'll pass (Sydney Morning Herald 20/4/05)
Catholics faced with rise in Protestantism (ABC Radio The World Today 19/4/05)
New Pontiff faces grave challenges from the HIV epidemic (Reuters/Christian Aid 19/4/05)
Next pope will face bioethical challenges unforeseen 27 years ago (Catholic News Service 19/4/05)
New Pope Faces Challenge of Evangelical Protestant Growth (Christian Today 19/4/05)
Analysis: Back to the future with Joseph Ratzinger (The Guardian 19/4/05)
Bruce Duncan: Have we forgotten John XXIII and Paul VI? (Online Catholics 20/4/05)
Max Charlesworth: The Church After John Paul II - Some modest proposals for the treatment of Episcopal 'anaemia' (Online Catholics 20/4/05)
For Ratzinger, the church has much to fear (San Francisco Chronicle 19/4/05)
Local Catholics Skeptical About Selection Of Pope (The Boston Channel 19/4/05)
Cardinal Ratzinger Warns of "Dictatorship of Relativism" (Zenit 18/4/05 - temporary url)
Andrew Sullivan: The Fundamentalist Triumph (Beliefnet 19/4/05)

20 Apr 2005