Cardinals elect new pope

10/01/2019 Posted by admin

After just more than 24 hours in seclusion and a mere four ballots the 115 cardinals elected the 78-year-old Ratzinger, who will be known as Pope Benedict XVI.

“We are all celebrating. I am very happy,” said Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, archbishop of Florence, as he left the Vatican city-state after the conclave.

Ratzinger, who was very close to his predecessor John Paul II, has been described as the Vatican’s ‘enforcer’.

He headed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and was dean of the powerful College of Cardinals.

An ecstatic crowd of nearly 200,000 cheered and waved wildly as the 265th pontiff of the Catholic Church appeared on the balcony of Saint Peter’s basilica.

His first words were met by a huge ovation.

“Dear brothers and sisters, after the great Pope John Paul II the cardinals have elected me a simple and humble labourer in the vineyard of the Lord,” he said.

“I console myself with the fact that the Lord knows how to work and act, even with insufficient tools, and above all I trust in your prayers, in the joy of the resurrected Lord, faithful in his permanent aid.

Ratzinger has been described as conservative. During a pre-conclave mass at the Sistine chapel he delivered what many Vatican watches considered a hard-line conservative manifesto and a forceful defence of Catholic tenets.

He warned 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 truths.

His age was likely a factor among cardinals who favoured a “transitional” pope who could lead the church as it absorbs John Paul II’s legacy, rather than a younger cardinal.

The Bavarian-born Ratzinger is the first Germanic pontiff in roughly 1,000 years.

He was a member of Hitler’s Nazi youth movement in 1941 when membership was compulsory, and was later enrolled as a soldier at 18, in the last months of the war, but barely finished basic training.

He was ordained as a priest in 1951 and became archbishop of Munich in 1977. Soon after he was elevated to rank of cardinal by John Paul II.

In 1981 he was summoned to Rome as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The new pope’s election has been welcomed around the world and his inauguration will take place on Sunday.

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