Wednesday, April 20

"Habemus Papam"

German- born Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, 78, was elected on Tuesday in a fourth round of voting as Pope Benedict XVI. He is the oldest man to become Pope for more than a century.
He was born in 1927 in a traditional farming family in Bavaria, and he is the first German Pope since the 11th Century.
The name Benedict comes from the Latin for "blessing" and the last Pope bearing the name, Benedict XV, reigned during World War I.
When the new Pope appeared on the balcony of St Peter's Square, he paid homage to his predecessor and great friend, Pope John Paul II, and he called himself a simple and humble worker in the vineyard of the Lord.
Clad in white papal vestments and a short red cape, he shyly greeted the crowd below and then delivered the traditional "Urbi et Orbi" blessing to the city of Rome and the world.
He will be inaugurated as the 265th Pope on Sunday, at ten o'clock. Leaders from all over the world will attend this Mass.

But, what more can be said about Cardinal Ratzinger? That he has been one of the front runners in the papal election, which began on Monday when 115 voting cardinals were sequestered in the Sistine Chapel for their secret conclave. That he celebrated Jhon Paul II's funeral and made the homily at the Mass before the start of the Conclave in which he denounced all deviations from traditional Church teachings as trickery and error. This may have been decisive in winning his election, and getting more popular.
He owns an extraordinary intellectual capacity, he's a renowned theologian and he's the author of a large amount of theological books. It is said that his classes were always full of students in the University where he worked, some of them even paid for attending if they came from other courses or degrees.
He likes music and he's an excellent pianist who enjoys talking to his friends about music and painting.

His papacy is sure to continue Jhon Paul II's strongly traditional interpretation of the Catholic Faith, including opposition to abortion, homosexuality, priestly marriage and women priests. He is going to be a "transitional Pope", given his age, and there is likely to be "more of the same" style of leathership conducted by his predecessor.
The selection was received with excitement in some quarters: The Cardinals have obviously decided to maintain a conservative way of leading the church. From the Catholic point of view they have selected the right man. They hope the new pontiff will unify and make peace between the different factions within the church as well as helping to bring about the "re-Christianization" of Europe.
His election as Pope will generate a mix of amazement and enthusiasm to traditionalists but concern and dissappointment among those who had hoped for a more liberal pontiff, and a change and updating of the church.
However, The Church never leaps, it prefers going step by step, the sensible actitude of someone who is not in a hurry because it has the support ot two thousand years of history.
Catholics around the world have been reacting to this election. Some in Latin American will be dissappointed with this choice. There have been talk of a first-ever Pope from the developing world, but instead the new man is an established figure from what many still see as the old world.
In the 1980's he investigated liberation theology, a form of Catholicism which said the Church has a duty to liberate the poor from opression. Cardinal Ratzinger publicly criticised the movement's leaders and he concluded liberation theology was a fundamental threat to the Church, and bishops who were sympathetic to the movement were replaced with more conservative figures.
To win support in Latin American, the new pope will need to show a firm commitment to social justice.
As for Africa, if 72-year-old Nigerian Cardinal Francis Arince had been elected Pope, it would have been a recognition of the global shift in the growth of Christianity away from the developed and towards the developing world. A few wondered whether racist attitudes in Rome would prevent an African getting the job.

Summarizing, he will be a dissappointment to some, a surprise to others and a confort to other people. A few will consider that the Holy Spirit has mistaken the choice.
Nevertheless it is not excluded that the new Pope could surprise.Experience teaches us that the Pope who seats St Peter's throne can suffer a complete transformation. A progressive Cardinal can enter the Conclave and turn into a conservative Pope (Paul VI), and a conservative Cardinal can turn into a progressive Pope (Jhon XXIII).

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