April 19, 2005


Cardinal Ratzinger Chosen as New Pope: German Successor to John Paul II Will Be Called Benedict XVI (Daniel Williams and Alan Cooperman, April 19, 2005, Washington Post)

Cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church elected Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany Tuesday as the new pope to succeed John Paul II, reaching an early agreement on the second day of voting.

He took the name of Benedict XVI.

A cardinal from Chile, Jorge Medina Estevez, the Senior Cardinal Deacon, made the announcement before thousands of cheering spectators.

Earlier, white smoke from the Sistine Chapel's chimney and the pealing of bells signaled the election of the new pope in a secret conclave.

There was initial confusion because of a false alarm Monday after the first ballot, when the smoke initially appeared to be white but then became black, indicating that no new pope had been elected. Although the smoke was white as it began flowing from the chimney shortly before 6 p.m. local time (noon EDT), it took several more minutes for the church bells to begin tolling -- a second and newly instituted signal to confirm a conclusive vote.

As the white smoke rose, the assembled crowd in St. Peter's Square burst into cheers and applause.

As Spengler suggested yesterday, this may come to be seen as another case of a conservative winning election in the wake of 9-11.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 19, 2005 1:02 PM

May God bless Benedict XVI!

That sound you hear is Daniel Duffy's head exploding...

Posted by: Timothy at April 19, 2005 1:06 PM


Posted by: oj at April 19, 2005 1:10 PM

Nothing makes me madder..#^()%#)

Posted by: h-man at April 19, 2005 1:14 PM

Vive la Papae!

Posted by: Bartman at April 19, 2005 1:25 PM

The reaction on the left: "Ratzinger alienated people", "He's just a placeholder"

Mine? Really, really, happy. Someone intelligent enough, and orthodox, to argue and speak to the general European and American culture.

Posted by: Arnold Williams at April 19, 2005 1:27 PM

Anybody: why Benedict?

Posted by: joe shropshire at April 19, 2005 1:32 PM

Joe: from The Corner:
"Benedict," of course, comes from the Latin words for (loosely) "speaking well" and "speaking good to others." The new Holy Father, announcing that he cherishes words.

Posted by: Timothy at April 19, 2005 1:35 PM

MSNBC'S lead:

"Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany, a hard-line guardian of conservative doctrine, was elected the new pope..."

Orrin, how about a contest on who finds the first obligatory fascist reference?

It would be fun to see Schroder's and Chirac's spin doctors today.

Posted by: Peter B at April 19, 2005 1:36 PM

Specifically, the contest should be to find the first mean-spirited reference to Ratzinger's (compulsory) time in the Hitler Youth.

Posted by: Timothy at April 19, 2005 1:39 PM

Sure, we've got books...

Isn't Benedict "blessing"?

Posted by: oj at April 19, 2005 1:40 PM

What a relief. Perhaps now we can put away this silly idea of reformatting the Reformation.

Posted by: NC3 at April 19, 2005 1:47 PM

Let us pray for the new Pope and may God grant him continued wisdom, health and long life.

Posted by: daniel duffy at April 19, 2005 1:48 PM

I don't know if this helps but, the last Pope Benedict (the XV of course) was Pope from 1914-1922. He was Italian, and his name was Giacomo della Chiesa . He was Genovese.

Posted by: Bartman at April 19, 2005 1:49 PM

St. Benedict was the founder of the Dominican order, and RAtzinger is a Dominican. It's to honor the founder of his order. All the Benedicts have been Dominicans, I believe.

Posted by: pj at April 19, 2005 1:49 PM

If Benedict founded the Dominican order, who founded the Benedictine order? Dominic?

Posted by: Timothy at April 19, 2005 1:51 PM

I am pleased with the election of Cardinal Ratzinger. Orthodox is good.

Wait for CBS and Dan Rather to air a program showing letters that while in the German Army during WWII Ratzinger engaged in nefarious activities. The letters will be proven forgeries but held to be true anyway.

Posted by: Ed Bush at April 19, 2005 1:52 PM

A new Pope AND a little something extra in the envelope!

"AS the world mourns the death of Pope John Paul II, Vatican bureaucrats have a reason to smile a bonus in their next pay packet. Catholic Church custom is to pay Vatican employees a bonus of a month's salary whenever a pope dies.


Posted by: Rick T. at April 19, 2005 1:52 PM

The BBC already is having a secular cow over the selection, judging by this profile they posted of the new pope.

My personal favorite hysterical paragraph is "Schooled in the Nazis' power of rhetoric during his childhood in Bavaria, the Pope later deserted the German Army during World War II, only to be sent to a POW camp when the Allies reached his hometown." But the are some other equally worthy howlers in there.

Posted by: John at April 19, 2005 1:57 PM

Hopefully Benedict XVI can do the same for Germany as John Paul II did for Poland.

Posted by: MB at April 19, 2005 1:58 PM

Thanks all.

Posted by: joe shropshire at April 19, 2005 2:06 PM

Timothy - You're quite right, I was mistaken. Mis-memory can be a shameful thing.

Posted by: pj at April 19, 2005 2:19 PM

Tradesports blew this one. Benedict XVI was sinking and the Italians were gaining.

They should stick to American Idol and the Electoral College I guess.

I'm not as ready as OJ to give up on my beloved Europe so I'm happy. The next Pope will surely be from regions where the faith is growing but this man will do some good.

Posted by: JAB at April 19, 2005 2:21 PM

The Dominicans were founded by St Dominic with the aim of bringing Benedictine educational practices to the new European urban centers of the 11th century.

Posted by: pj at April 19, 2005 2:25 PM

The betters nailed the name, though. Apparently someone took out a huge bet on the name. They're probably pretty pleased now, though that person also bet on Lustiger.

Posted by: Timothy at April 19, 2005 2:29 PM

Somebody on NRO & The Anchoress note that Benedict II (684 to 685) is the Patron Saint of Europe. Ratzinger is certainly very concerned with Europe.

Posted by: pj at April 19, 2005 2:35 PM

I believe that there is no Benedictine order per se, but St Benedict was the founder of communal monasticism (as opposed to individual) by creating the rules for future monastic orders.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at April 19, 2005 2:56 PM

I know very little about this sort of thing, but one of my main interactions with Catholicism was a visit to a Benedictine monastary. They called themselves Benedictines, for what it's worth...

Posted by: Timothy at April 19, 2005 2:58 PM

There is a Benedictine order -- if you see O.S.B. after a priest's name they're in it -- tho the Benedictine Rule has been used by most other monastic orders.

Also a propos that St. Benedict's monasteries were the ark that preserved Christian civilization after the barbarian invasions engulfed the Roman empire.

Couldn't be happier with the conclav'es choice. As soon as Estivez said "Josephum" there was much dancing around at chez Jim.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at April 19, 2005 3:04 PM

I'm disapointed. Why Benedict XVI when Hilarius II, Simplicius II, or (for you Star Wars fans) Lando II were all available? And I'm still partial to Sixtus VI.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at April 19, 2005 3:07 PM

His name is Benedictus Sextusdecimus. Benedictus is the past participle for "blessed." Benedictio is the Latin word for blessing. My suspicion is that he was thinking more of Benedict II than Benedict XV. There were also some other reforming Benedicts in Papal history, as well as one scoundrel who actually had three terms before being packed off to Tuscany by the Holy Roman Emperor.

Posted by: Derek Copold at April 19, 2005 3:22 PM

Great news! And boy, is Reuters having a fit over this (Seriously, they couldn't find one quote from a Ratzinger supporter?):

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Arch-conservative German cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected Pope on Tuesday in a surprise choice that delighted traditionalist Roman Catholics but stunned moderates hoping for a more liberal papacy. [...]

Benedict was showered with congratulations from foreign and religious leaders but the election was greeted with consternation by those hoping for a relaxation in John Paul's strict rule over the world's 1.1 billion Catholics.

"We consider the election of Ratzinger is a catastrophe ... We can expect no reform from him in coming years ... I think even more people will turn their back on the Church," said Bernd Goehring, of the German ecumenical group Kirche von Unten.

Even in St Peter's Square, some of the celebrations were tempered by fear of widening divisions in the Church.

"It's a historic moment, but a very sad one. He is even more conservative than John Paul II. All he knows to do is condemn, condemn, condemn," said Agusti Capdevila from Barcelona. [...]

"I was surprised for a couple of reasons. One is his age ... The second is that I thought he might have been too much of a polarising person. But that may not be the perception that was shared by the cardinals," said Lawrence Cunningham, theology professor at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. [...]

Ratzinger's stern leadership of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, the modern successor to the Inquisition, delighted conservative Catholics but upset moderates and other Christians whose churches he described as deficient. [...]

The choice of Ratzinger dashed hopes of a pope from the developing world, where two thirds of Catholics now live. He is expected to pay particular attention to the decline of faith and spread of secularism in Europe. [...]

Matt Foreman, of the U.S. National Gay and Lesbian Task Force said: "Today the princes of the Roman Catholic Church elected as Pope a man whose record has been one of unrelenting, venomous hatred for gay people."

In a document in 2000, Ratzinger branded other Christian churches as deficient -- shocking Anglicans, Lutherans and other Protestants in ecumenical dialogue with Rome for years. [...]

Before the conclave door shut on Monday, Ratzinger made a final appeal to his fellow electors to protect traditional teachings and to shun modern trends.

He made no mention of the challenges that other cardinals and ordinary Catholics say should top the agenda such as poverty, Islam, science, sexual morality and Church reform.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at April 19, 2005 5:26 PM

In the time it took me to drive back to the office from lunch, I heard him described as a follower of the Nazi school of rhetoric, and also as a Rottweiler.

I think he does have the right enemies. I am not Catholic, but had Arinze been appointed, it is likely the Left would have secretly sneered at him for being a 'primitive conservative from the jungle'.

Ratzinger can hit them right between the eyes.

Posted by: jim hamlen at April 19, 2005 5:28 PM

And Andrew Sullivan needs a chill pill:

Just a link to an interview I had with America, the Jesuit magazine, a while back. I've changed over the last decade. In the interview, I said I felt no anger toward the church. Obviously, I do now. [...]

Thanks for your emails both sympathizing and telling me to leave the Church entirely. But I am still in shock. This was not an act of continuity. There is simply no other figure more extreme than the new Pope on the issues that divide the Church. No one. [...]

And what is the creed of the Church? That is for the Grand Inquisitor to decide. [...] The swiftness of the decision and the polarizing nature of this selection foretell a coming civil war within Catholicism. The space for dissidence, previously tiny, is now extinct. And the attack on individual political freedom is just beginning. [...]

And so the Catholic church accelerates its turn toward authoritarianism, hostility to modernity, assertion of papal supremacy and quashing of internal debate and dissent. We are back to the nineteenth century.

Get ready for weeks of this garbage...full tilt, nonstop.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at April 19, 2005 5:42 PM


One more thing...here's the obligatory Nazi reference.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at April 19, 2005 5:44 PM

Oh how I wish I had put $$$ on this! I picked the person and the number of ballots (missed the name though, Leo XIII). What they say is true, if you don't play you can't win.

NPR commutators are saying that the new pope may have chosen his name as a way of softning his hard right of center image, as Benedict XV was one who worked to bridge the gap between 'traditionalists' and 'modernists' during his reign, and who spoke out in opposition to WWI.

Posted by: Dave W. at April 19, 2005 5:56 PM

"We consider the election of Ratzinger is a catastrophe ... We can expect no reform from him in coming years ... I think even more people will turn their back on the Church," said Bernd Goehring, of the German ecumenical group Kirche von Unten.

The Unitarians will welcome them with open arms.

Posted by: John Resnick at April 19, 2005 6:18 PM

Professor Bainbridge has Sullivan's chill pill ready: Andrew Sullivan is an Ass. InstaPundit has a link to this so it might take time to load.

Posted by: joe shropshire at April 19, 2005 6:51 PM

Tough times to be a sodomite and want approval.

Posted by: oj at April 19, 2005 7:11 PM

Sometimes I think he wants buggery to be a sacrament.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at April 19, 2005 7:29 PM


Nazi army? Is ours the Republican army?

Posted by: oj at April 19, 2005 7:43 PM

May Benedict XVI's time as pope be a true blessing upon the entire Christian Church.

Posted by: Dave W. at April 19, 2005 7:44 PM

Matt writes (re: Sullivan):

"Sometimes I think he wants buggery to be a sacrament."

Isn't that what gay marriage is really all about?

Posted by: Ted Welter at April 19, 2005 8:20 PM


Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein GOP!

Posted by: Matt Murphy at April 19, 2005 8:20 PM

Ted Welter:

Well, he likes to say he wants gay marraige so as to introduce some element of monogamy into homosexuality...and then he writes about, say, the "spirituality" of meeting up with some guy in a bathhouse. I'm getting mixed messages, here.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at April 19, 2005 8:25 PM

Andrew's theology is all about access to the anus. Eveything else is derivative.

Posted by: jim hamlen at April 19, 2005 8:44 PM

Derek wrote: "His name is Benedictus Sextusdecimus. Benedictus is the past participle for "blessed." Benedictio is the Latin word for blessing."

His Hebrew name is Baruch.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at April 19, 2005 9:45 PM

I think he already views intercourse as sacramental.

Posted by: Dave W. at April 19, 2005 10:06 PM

So IS Ratzinger from the Benedictine order or not. Anyone know? Your source?

Posted by: Aeunica at April 20, 2005 9:21 PM

No, B16 is not a Benedictine. I looked at several official websites and could find no evidence to suggest he is.

Posted by: Dave W. at April 21, 2005 11:14 AM

the name is to make the prophecy of St. Malachy work. this pope is supposed to be "of the olives" which popular opinion means of the Benedictines. SInce he wasn't a Benedictine to make the prophecy work there had to be a conection soooo

Posted by: Old Squid at April 24, 2005 8:39 PM