We have a new pope – pope Benedict XVI. What an amazing selection – Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. The seminarians were going nuts up here at the election. We just got out of mass and the bells announcing the new pope started – most of us were really surprised at the speed which they elected the new pope. We ran down to the TV room and started watching the coverage – classes were immediately canceled. It was amazing timing today, because we had just got out of mass where 20 new deacon candidates had just signed and announced their public candidacy oaths for deaconate ordination. Anyway, a lot of guys were going crazy (in a good way) cheering and hooting when they announced it was Ratzinger – a German cardinal who had been in the office for Catholic doctrine. I too was very moved and joyful at this selection. While a complete analysis is too long – here’s my general take:
He’s an excellent successor to John Paul II. Ratzinger was John Paul’s right-hand-man for the last 20 some years and very holy. Many of our instructors have met, studied, or worked with him. Expect his papacy to be very similar to John Paul’s – but I don’t know if he’ll be quite the exuberant public face/world traveler as John Paul. On a theological front, by picking the name Benedict and from having read a number of his articles, expect his papacy to be marked by strong support for the traditional Catholic stances on topics such as the priesthood, marriage, sexuality, the mass, etc; probably more so than John Paul’s papacy. Clarification and affirmation of Catholic doctrine will probably be the place he will be most active in – since this is what his job has been for so long now. Clearly, these are generalities, and the realities will obviously have yet to unfold. Thanks to God for sending us such a soul to help shepherd His church. He’ll be needing our prayers, and I for one know mine will be with him.