Posted on Tue, Apr. 19, 2005
Ratzinger elected pope.
William J. Kole
VATICAN CITY - Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany, the church's
leading hard-liner, was elected the new pope Tuesday evening in the
first conclave of the new millennium. He chose the name Pope Benedict
XVI and called himself "a simple, humble worker."
Ratzinger, the first German pope since the 11th century, emerged onto
the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica, where he waved to a wildly cheering
crowd of tens of thousands and gave his first blessing as pope. Other
cardinals clad in their crimson robes came out on other balconies to
"Dear brothers and sisters, after the great Pope John Paul II, the
cardinals have elected me - a simple, humble worker in the vineyard of
the Lord," he said after being introduced by Chilean Cardinal Jorge
Arturo Medina Estivez.
"The fact that the Lord can work and act even with insufficient means
consoles me, and above all I entrust myself to your prayers," the new
pope said. "I entrust myself to your prayers."
The crowd responded by chanting "Benedict! Benedict!"
If the new pope was paying tribute to the last pontiff of that name, it
could be interpreted as a bid to soften his image as the Vatican's
doctrinal hard-liner. Benedict XV, who reigned from 1914 to 1922, was a
moderate following Pius X, who had implemented a sharp crackdown against
On Monday, Ratzinger, who was the powerful dean of the College of
Cardinals, used his homily at the Mass dedicated to electing the next
pope to warn the faithful about tendencies that he considered dangers to
the faith: sects, ideologies like Marxism, liberalism, atheism,
agnosticism and relativism - the ideology that there are no absolute
"Having a clear faith, based on the creed of the church, is often
labeled today as a fundamentalism," he said, speaking in Italian.
"Whereas relativism, which is letting oneself be tossed and 'swept along
by every wind of teaching,' looks like the only attitude acceptable to
Ratzinger served John Paul II since 1981 as head of the Congregation for
the Doctrine of the Faith. In that position, he has disciplined church
dissidents and upheld church policy against attempts by liberals for
reforms. He turned 78 on Saturday.
The new pope had gone into the conclave with the most buzz among two
dozen leading candidates. He had impressed many faithful with his
stirring homily at the funeral of John Paul II, who died April 2 at age
Ratzinger is the first Germanic pope since monarchs imposed four men
from that region in a row in the 11th century.
The Miami Herald