Pope says thought of his election made him "lightheaded"

Speaking to pilgrims from his native Germany, Pope Benedict XVI has reflected on the "slow unfolding of the voting process" at the conclave, and how he felt when it became evident that "the guillotine was coming closer and was meant for me".

The thought of becoming the next pope "made my head spin," he told the pilgrims. "I had thought that up until now my life's work was done and that the years ahead of me would be more restful," said the pope.

Catholic News Service reports that a fellow cardinal-elector gave the future pope a letter reminding him of a phrase he had used during his homily at the funeral Mass of Pope John Paul II: "If the Lord calls you, you must obey".

Some 3000 pilgrims from all over Germany filed into the Paul VI audience hall to meet with the newly elected German pontiff on Monday, the day after he was formally installed as pope.

When he arrived, the pope walked the length of the hall, shook hands with pilgrims and blessed two infants along the way. When he took to the stage to begin his address, he asked the enthusiastic audience members to forgive his being late.

"We Germans are usually very punctual, but it looks like I have become Italian," he joked, after arriving from his previous meeting ten minutes late. He explained he was delayed because his meeting with ecumenical leaders "was so cordial" that it lasted longer than expected.

He said when the voting was showing him to be the clear favourite he prayed to God "to spare me". He said he told God, "You have candidates who are younger, better, stronger and have more elan than me."

"Evidently God did not listen to me," he said.

But the pope said he gathered strength for accepting the cardinals' decision from the letter given to him by a fellow cardinal-elector. He said the "touching" letter reminded the pope of the theme he chose for the mid-April funeral Mass homily that when one is called by God that call "cannot be rejected."

Pope says thought of his election made him lightheaded, doubtful (Catholic News Service 25/4/05)

Benedict Says He Prayed Not to Be Elected (Associated Press/Yahoo 25/4/05)
Pope Benedict didn't want papacy (Big News Network/United Press International 26/4/05)
Pope's Bavarian homeland is a place apart from the rest of Germany (Associated Press/Boston Herald 26/4/05)
In the face and words of the Pope the humility of Christ, says Bishop of Mosul (AsiaNews.it 26/4/05)
German Catholics say Pope Benedict can help European reconciliation (Catholic News Service 25/4/05)
Previous German popes were handpicked by emperors (Catholic News Service 25/4/05)
British cardinal says Pope Benedict was right choice for the church (Catholic News Service 25/4/05)
U.S. Catholic weeklies address challenges new pope faces (Catholic News Service 26/4/05)
Pope Benedict tells fellow Germans: 'When the Lord calls, we must answer' (Catholic News Agency 26/4/05)
A new missionary Pope: Benedict will strive to follow John Paul's example of travel (Catholic News Agency 26/4/05)
Pope Benedict shares laugh with fellow countrymen (Catholic News Agency 26/4/05)
Pope Benedict busy first day after inauguration (Catholic News Agency 26/4/05)
Hundreds of university students welcomed news of Pope Benedict with cheers (Catholic News Agency 26/4/05)
Papal visits to Krakow, Fatima being proposed (Catholic News Agency 26/4/05)
Mexican bishops: quick election of Benedict XVI evidence of God's will (Catholic News Agency 26/4/05)
Fear of mass support motivates critics of new Pope, says archbishop (Catholic News Agency 26/4/05)
New Pope's Election And Inauguration Was A Deep Ecclesial Experience: CBCI President Cardinal Toppo (Catholic Bishops Conference of India 26/4/05)
Pope Says Election Was Like 'Guillotine' (The Guardian/Associated Press 26/4/05)
Pope Benedict XVI Shows Humor and Warmth (The Guardian/Associated Press 26/4/05)
Pope Benedict XVI Shows Humor and Warmth (The Herald-Sun Durham North Carolina/Associated Press 26/4/05)
Pope Softens Image As Austere Theologian (The Herald-Sun Durham North Carolina/Associated Press 24/4/05)
John Paul's Presence Still Felt at Vatican (The Herald-Sun Durham North Carolina/Associated Press 25/4/05)
Pope's Coat of Arms Has Bavarian Elements (The Herald-Sun Durham North Carolina/Associated Press 25/4/05)
German pope jokes he is already 'very Italian' (Associated Press/Morris Daily Herald 26/4/05)
Der Spiegel: Can a Shy Theologian Transform into a Pope for the People? (New York Times 25/4/05)
Eric Hodgens: Benedict the Change Manager (Online Catholics 27/4/05)
William M. Johnston: Reflections on the "pope with a velvet voice (Online Catholics 27/4/05)
Kevin Bates: Musing on the possibilities And the sweet nourishment Of all good friends (Online Catholics 27/4/05)
Pope Benedict Hints at Less Papal Travel (Reuters 26/4/05)
Benedict's previous writing may portend change in mass and bishops conferences (Spirit Daily)
Benedict XVI's Homily at St. Paul Outside the Walls (Zenit 25/4/05 - temporary url)
Benedict XVI, a Lover of Nature and Sports (Zenit 25/4/05 - temporary url)
Pope to Continue "Fruitful Dialogue" With Media (Zenit 25/4/05 - temporary url)
Benedict XVI Prayed That Someone Else Be Elected (Zenit 25/4/05 - temporary url)

27 Apr 2005