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Roman Catholic Church chooses continunity
Joseph Ratzinger Is Elected as New Pope
The Head of the World's 1.1Billion Roman Catholics
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger making his first appearance as pope.

Taking the name Pope Benedict XVI, the 78-year-old German appeared on the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica.

His arrival was greeted by loud cheers from the many thousands of pilgrims who had packed St. Peter's Square as news of his election spread across Rome.

He was chosen on the third round of votes by the 115 cardinals meeting to select Pope John Paul II's successor.

Call for support

The name Benedict comes from the Latin for "blessing" and the last Pope bearing the name, Benedict XV, reigned during World War I.

Giving a short address in Italian to the crowds gathered below the new Pope paid homage to his predecessor, and great friend, Pope John Paul II.

"Dear brothers and sisters after the great Pope, John Paul II, the cardinals have elected me, a simple and humble worker in the Lord's vineyard," he said.

"The fact that the Lord can work and act even with insufficient means consoles me, and above all I entrust myself to your prayers.

"In the joy of the resurrected Lord, we go on with his help. He is going to help us and Mary will be on our side. Thank you," he added.

Inauguration ceremony

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger newly elected as Pope Benedict
Clad in white papal vestments and a short red cape, he then delivered the traditional "Urbi et Orbi" [to the City and the World] blessing to the city of Rome and the world.

Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said Pope Benedict XVI would dine with Roman Catholic cardinals later on Tuesday and celebrate a Mass with them in the Sistine Chapel on Wednesday morning at 0900 (0700 GMT).

He will be inaugurated as the 265th pope on Sunday, the Vatican has announced.

The new Pope had been one of the front runners in the papal election, which began on Monday when the 115 voting cardinals were sequestered in the Sistine Chapel for their secret conclave.

Conservative pope

Pope Benedict XVI, who is the oldest pope for more than a century, was born in 1927 into a traditional farming family in Bavaria, Germany, although his father was a policeman.

The future pope's studies at seminary were interrupted by World War II and his supporters say that his experiences under the Nazi regime convinced him that the Church had to stand up for truth and freedom.

He is the first German Pope since the 11th Century.

The BBC's Ray Furlong in Berlin says Cardinal Ratzinger's election as Pope will generate amazement and enthusiasm in Germany as well as concern among those who had hoped for a more liberal pontiff.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger newly elected as Pope Benedict XVI

A close friend and confidante of Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI is also known as a fellow conservative.

For more than 20 years he was head of the congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith in the Vatican - the Vatican's guardian of orthodoxy.

The BBC's William Horsley in Rome says his papacy is sure to continue John Paul II's strongly traditional interpretation of the Catholic faith, including opposition to abortion, homosexuality, priestly marriage and women priests.

Our correspondent says that the homily he made at the Mass before the start of the Conclave in which he denounced all deviations from traditional church teachings as trickery and error, may have been decisive in winning him the title of Pope.

Profile: Pope Benedict XVI

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger newly elected as Pope Benedict
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, 78 - now to be known as Pope Benedict XVI - was the clear favourite to fill the vacancy left by John Paul II's death.

As one of the most influential men in the Vatican, he presided over the Pope's funeral earlier this month and was said to be among the pontiff's closest friends.

Cardinal Ratzinger has been head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith - formerly known as the Holy Office of the Inquisition - since 1981.

One of his first campaigns was against liberation theology, which had gained ground among priests in Latin America and elsewhere as a means of involving the Church in social activism and human rights issues.

He has described homosexuality as a "tendency" towards an "intrinsic moral evil." During the US election campaign, he called for pro-choice politicians to be denied Communion.

He has also argued that Turkey should not be admitted into the European Union.

The eighth German to become Pope, he speaks 10 languages and is said to be an accomplished pianist with a preference for Beethoven.


Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger newly elected as Pope Benedict

Cardinal Ratzinger was born into a traditional Bavarian farming family in 1927, although his father was a policeman.

At the age of 14, he joined the Hitler Youth, as was required of young Germans of the time, but was not an enthusiastic member.

His studies at Traunstein seminary were interrupted during World War II when he was drafted into an anti-aircraft unit in Munich.

He deserted the German army towards the end of the war and was briefly held as a prisoner of war by the Allies in 1945.

His supporters say his experiences under the Nazi regime convinced him that the Church had to stand up for truth and freedom.

Cardinal Ratzinger's conservative, traditionalist views were intensified by his experiences during the liberal 1960s.

In 1966 he took a chair in dogmatic theology at the University of Tuebingen.

However, he was appalled at the prevalence of Marxism among his students.

'Abuse of faith'

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger newly elected as Pope Benedict. He was the right-hand man for the late Pope John Paul II.
One incident in particular at Tuebingen, in which student protesters disrupted one of his lectures, seems to have particularly upset him.

In his view, religion was being subordinated to a political ideology that he considered "tyrannical, brutal and cruel."

"That experience made it clear to me that the abuse of faith had to be resisted precisely," he later wrote.

He moved to Regensburg University in his native Bavaria in 1969, eventually rising to become its dean and vice-president.

He was named Cardinal of Munich by Pope Paul VI in 1977.

Wolfgang Cooper, a commentator on religious affairs in Germany, fears that the cardinal could become a divisive figure in the papacy.

"I think if Cardinal Ratzinger was pope, a large distance could grow between the leadership of the Church and the faith," he predicted before the result was known.

The cardinal is a "scientist" who "prefers intellectual discussions," says Mr. Cooper, whereas many Catholics want priests and bishops "who will touch the hearts."

The above article is from BBC.






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