The College of Cardinals Elect Joseph Ratzinger the New Pope
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RAY SUAREZ: It was 6:48 PM in the evening in Rome when the newly elected pope, Benedict XVI, emerged from behind the velvet-curtained balcony of St Peter’s Basilica.
Just an hour before, smoke billowed from the Vatican stovepipe, causing some confusion over whether it was really the white smoke signal everyone had been waiting for.
It was another 15 minutes before the bells of St. Peter’s began to chime, and the answer was clear. After less than 36 hours, Roman Catholic cardinals had picked their new leader. It was one of the fastest elections in the past century.
The crowd chanted “Viva il Papa,” or “Long live the Pope.” Thousands more flooded the already packed square.
Chilean Cardinal Jorge Arturo Medina Estivez abandoned Church Latin for greetings in Italian, French, German.
CARDINAL JORGE ARTURO MEDINA: Dear brothers and sisters –
RAY SUAREZ: Then the cardinal returned to Latin for the exclamation, “We have a pope.”
CARDINAL JORGE ARTURO MEDINA: Habemus papam.
RAY SUAREZ: Seventy-eight-year-old Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger would be the 265th successor to St. Peter as bishop of Rome. Moments later, Benedict XVI delivered his first public words as pope.
POPE BENEDICT XVI (Translated): 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. The fact that the Lord can work and act even with insufficient means consoles me, and above all I entrust myself to your prayers. With the joy of the risen Lord and confidence in His constant help, we will go forward. The Lord will help us, and Mary, His most holy mother, will be alongside us. Thank you.
RAY SUAREZ: The crowd responded, cheering, “Benedict, Benedict,” and “Viva il papa.” Then the pope gave his first papal blessing.
RAY SUAREZ: Benedict is the first German pope in nearly 1,000 years. Born in Bavaria in 1927, he grew up in Nazi Germany, and like many children there, was a member of the Hitler Youth. Towards the end of the war, he served in an antiaircraft unit protecting a factory. He later deserted.
Ordained a priest in 1951, he supported the reforms of the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s, which made the Church more open. He was appointed archbishop of Munich in 1977, and a few months later named cardinal. Benedict speaks Italian and English, as well as his native German. His brother, also a priest, says Benedict’s sharp mind will make him a good pope.
GEROG RATZINGER (Translated): My brother is gifted with a high intellect. He was always a great pupil. He wasn’t very practical or sporty, just like me, but he was and still is very open to all intellectual and spiritual areas.
RAY SUAREZ: As dean of the College of Cardinals, Benedict was a close collaborator of John Paul II. The late pope described him as his “trustworthy friend,” and chose him to lead the congregation for the doctrine of the faith, once known as the Inquisition. Eleven days ago, Benedict delivered the homily for the funeral Mass for John Paul.
CARDINAL RATZINGER (Translated): 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.
RAY SUAREZ: Since then, Cardinal Ratzinger’s name was often mentioned as a successor. He celebrated the Mass yesterday before the cardinals entered the conclave for the first time. In his homily, he said that faith should not follow today’s fashions.
CARDINAL RATZINGER (Translated): To have a clear faith according to the Church belief is often labeled as fundamentalism, while relativism — to be taken here and there by the winds of the doctrine — seems to be the only attitude up to modern times.
RAY SUAREZ: Benedict celebrated his 78th birthday on Saturday, making him one of the oldest cardinals allowed to vote, and 20 years older than John Paul was at the start of his papacy. The previous Pope Benedict, XV, served just eight years, one of the shortest reigns of the 20th century. Pope Benedict XVI will hold an inaugural Mass at the Vatican, Sunday.