Ladies & Gentlemen, Please Welcome Pope Benedict XVI

Today is a joyous day. Cardinal Ratzinger of Germany has just been named the new pope, and has chosen the name Pope Benedict XVI. Ratzinger is hard-line conservative, and will continue on in John Paul II's steps.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany, a longtime guardian of doctrinal orthodoxy, was elected the new pope Tuesday evening in the first conclave of the new millennium. He chose the name Pope Benedict XVI.

Ratzinger, the first German pope in centuries, 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.

White smoke poured from a chimney at the Vatican and bells tolled on Tuesday evening, announcing to the world that a new pope was elected in the first papal conclave of the new millennium.

Crowds in St. Peter's Square chanted: "Viva il Papa!" or "Long live the pope!"

He is the 265th pope.

The new pope will have to decide whether to keep up the kind of foreign travel that was a hallmark of John Paul's papacy, with his 104 pilgrimages abroad.

The new man may be locked into one foreign trip รข€” the mid-August Catholic youth day gathering in Cologne, Germany. John Paul had agreed to visit and organizers have already spent millions of dollars in preparations.
I don't think that will be a problem for the new German pope. Welcome.

Update: It get better. Cardinal Ratzinger has a fan site! Can't get in due to heavy traffic, though.

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