Pope Benedict XVI

VATICAN CITY (AP) 78 year old Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany is the new pope. Inauguration Mass for Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday (4/24/05) at 10 a.m. (4 a.m. EDT).

NEW: Pope Benedict’s Homily (4/24/05)


Bush Reacts – Praises Ratzinger

President Bush joins other world leaders in praising the choice of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as the new pope, calling him a “man of great wisdom and knowledge.”

“He’s a man who serves the Lord,” Bush tells reporters at the White House.


Fact Sheet: Papal Names

Pope Benedict XVI — formerly Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger — chose one of a number of papal names of holy origin. Benedict comes from the Latin for “blessing.”

Some experts believe the name the pope chooses offers a clue into the spirit of the new papacy.

The last pope to choose the name — Benedict XV — served during World War I and was credited with settling animosity between traditionalists and modernists. He dreamed of reunion with Orthodox Christians.

And there’s another Pope Benedict who was seen as a peacemaker. Pope Benedict XI served in the 14th century as political issues were building tension in the church.

One other aspect of the name may be appealing to the new Pope Benedict. He is known as a scholar, just like Pope Benedict XIV and Pope Benedict XI before him.

The new pope is free to pick from any of his 264 predecessors, use his own first name or come up with something new.

Choosing A New Name

  • A newly-elected pope must immediately choose a name after accepting the papacy.
  • This happens while cardinals are still secretly meeting in conclave.
  • New popes usually pick the name of a saint or former pope they admire.
  • Many see great significance in the name, indicating a pope’s beliefs and direction.
  • The last completely new papal name was “Lando”. Pope Lando served 913-914.

John Paul II’s Name

  • Pope John Paul II chose his name to honor his predecessor, John Paul I.
  • John Paul I died just 33 days after being elected pope.
  • John Paul I was honoring two former popes: John XXIII (1958-63) and Paul VI (1963-78). Those popes opened and closed the Second Vatican Council.
  • The name “John Paul I” made history as the first time a pope took two names.
  • Also, no one had ever added “the first” or “I” to a new pope name. But “John Paul I” put the “I” on the end of the name as he took office.

How Did Tradition Start?

  • The tradition dates to 553 AD.
  • The new pope then changed his name from Mercurius to John, becoming Pope John II.
  • He did that as his given name, Mercurius, was derived from the name of the Roman god Mercury.
  • Mercurius felt the successor to St. Peter shouldn’t have a pagan name. So he chose John, to honor a former pope.

Most Popular Pope Names

  • John. There have been 23 Pope Johns. The latest (John XXIII) died in 1963.
  • Gregory. There have been 16. The last served 1831-1846.
  • Benedict. There have been 16, including the current pope.
  • Clement. There have been 14. The most recent served 1769-1774.
  • Innocent. The church has had 13 popes with that name. The last served 1721-24.
  • Leo. There have been 13.

Other Pope Names

  • Peter. The first pope. There has been only one.
  • Pius. Relatively popular lately. Three of eight popes in the 20th century were named Pius. Pius XII died in 1958. It’s an old name; Pius I served 140-155.
  • Urban. There have been eight, with the latest (Urban VIII) serving 1623-1644.
  • Honorius. There were two. Honorius II served 1124-1130.
  • Sisinnius. Just one. He served in 708.
  • St. Hilarius. He served as pope 461-468.




First greeting:

Dear brothers and sisters,

After the Great Pope John Paul II, the cardinals have elected me, a simple, humble worker in the Lord’s vineyard.

I am comforted by the fact that the Lord knows how to work and act even with insufficient instruments. 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.


Fast Facts

  • Joseph Ratzinger was born April 16, 1927
  • He is 78 years old and the oldest of the major contenders to be pope
  • Ratzinger is German. He speaks heavily accented Italian
  • He’s spent more than 24 years as a theologian at the Vatican, serving as John Paul II’s chief theological adviser
  • He was most often mentioned as a “transitional” pope who could have a short reign
  • He became a cardinal in 1977 by Paul VI
  • Ratzinger was one of just three voting cardinals who wasn’t made a cardinal by John Paul II


Blog Reaction





Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany, the Roman Catholic Church’s leading hard-liner, was elected the new pope Tuesday in the first conclave of the new millennium. He chose the name Benedict XVI and called himself “a simple, humble worker.”

Ratzinger, the first German pope in centuries, emerged onto the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica, where he waved to a wildly cheering crowd of tens of thousands and gave his first blessing. Other cardinals clad in their crimson robes came out on other balconies to watch him after one of the fastest papal conclaves of the past century.

“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,” he said after being introduced by Chilean Cardinal Jorge Arturo Medina Estivez.

“The fact that the Lord can work and act even with insufficient means consoles me, and above all I entrust myself to your prayers,” the new pope said. “I entrust myself to your prayers.”

The crowd responded to the 265th pope by chanting “Benedict! Benedict!”

If the new pope was paying tribute to the last pontiff of that name, it could be interpreted as a bid to soften his image as the Vatican’s doctrinal hard-liner.

Benedict XV, who reigned from 1914 to 1922, was a moderate following Pius X, who had implemented a sharp crackdown against doctrinal “modernism.” He reigned during World War I and was credited with settling animosity between traditionalists and modernists, and dreamed of reunion with Orthodox Christians.

Benedict, which comes from the Latin for “blessing,” is one of a number of papal names of holy origin such as Clement (“mercy”), Innocent (“hopeful” as well as “innocent”) and Pius (“pious”).

Ratzinger turned 78 on Saturday. His age clearly was a factor among cardinals who favored a “transitional” pope who could skillfully lead the church as it absorbs John Paul II’s legacy, rather than a younger cardinal who could wind up with another long pontificate.


  1. Benedict XVI

    Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who has named himself Benedict the 16th, is

  2. Papalblogging

    Pundit Guy has all the links and facts-at-your-fingertips you could want. I would be remiss not to note the reaction of Andrew Sullivan to the election of Benedict XVI as Pope. Lord knows, he’s not the easiest person to offend:…

  3. A-Pope-Lectic*

    Sully is VERY unhappy about the new Pontiff. (Post title provided courtesy of the wit of my lovely wife) Others…

  4. Habemus Papam

    Wow that was quick: Cardinals Select New Pope. (The title comes from the Latin announcement after the vote: “We have a Pope!”)

    UPDATE: It’s Joe Ratzinger of Germany starring as POPE BENEDICT XVI in the longest running show in history: “The Church”.

  5. benedict XVI: guess the headline

    Reuters writes a story about the new Pope Benedict XVI, formerly Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany, an orthodox Catholic in a similar vein to John Paul II.

    Guess what their headline reads: Arch-conservative German elected pope.


  6. Michelle Malkin says:


    Lots of cheering in Vatican Square. Cables are cautious…no bells ringing yet. Jeff Jarvis is watching. View the “Smoke Cam.” FNC’s Chris Wallace: “I don’t have a clue.” More on the Papal Conclave. 12:04pm. The bells are tolling. Wallace: “We…

  7. White Smoke Rises and Moonbat Mayhem Ensues…

    A new Pope has been chosen: German Cardinal Ratzinger Elected Pope By WILLIAM J. KOLE, Associated Press Writer VATICAN CITY – Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany, the Roman Catholic Church’s leading hard-liner, was elected pope Tuesday in the first co…

  8. Benedict XVI

    German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger is the new Pope Benedict XVI.

  9. Speed of Thought says:

    White Smoke

    …at least it looks that way on FNC’s chimney cam.

    Update: And the bells just rang, I think. Hard to tell on the Internet feed.

  10. Neural Fusion says:

    Hail! Pope Benedict

    The Cardinals have elected a new pope. Joseph Ratzinger of Germany, 78 years old, chose the name Benedict the XVI. By all accounts, this new pope is a conservative and a traditionalist. Pundit Guy (via Ace) offers all the fast…

  11. The Anchoress says:

    B-XVI Roundups from Left and Right

    Very impressive round up on all things Benedict and breaking. Yeeeeehah!

    Meanwhile, Dirty Harry is CONVINCED Ratzinger was the right choice, mostly on the basis of how fast and hard the left are howling.

    Professor Bainbridge is watching the left…

  12. UNCoRRELATED says:

    Catholic Liberal Conniption

    It was a no-brainer that Andrew Sullivan was going to be unhappy, perhaps even more so that after George W. Bush’s reelection. Apparently I wasn’t the only one who thought to look him up as a half a dozen blogs…

  13. HARD-TALK says:

    LIBERALS and the Pope

    Conservative German cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected on Tuesday as leader of the world’s 1.1 billion Roman Catholics, in a controversial choice to succeed Pope John Paul II. As was expected LIBERALS are lining up to bash the new Pope….

  14. We Have A Weiner!!!

    Pope Benedict XVI has taken up the reins. Formally affectionately known as the Rotweiller, the lovable rouge has been happily ensconced as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. A couple of hundred years ago, this same…

  15. News from Around the World says:

    Pope Benedict XVI

    In a as-you-will sort of way:…

  16. As for giving the Pope a fair chance, I believe that I should provide some information about him considering that at the present time the media has not been completely friendly.

    It has almost always stated the truth about the Pope, it has frequently misrepresented the views of Catholics, as well as omitting very important about understanding the Pope. It is true that Pope Benedict XVI was for a very short period of time, enrolled in the Hitler Youth. However, this was mandatory for all children of his age (he was 14 in 1941). And he was certainly not a willing participant in this activity. I have never even once heard yet on the news (that I have watched) that the Pope entered seminary when he was 12 years old. This was actually why they let him out of the Hitler Youth, because he was studying to be priest. Unfortunately, the political situation prevented him from up being ordained a priest until June 29, 1951.

    His family moved five times during the war to avoid pro-fascist sentiment in their town. The family moved at least once due to the introduction of the pagan May Pole ceremony in their town, which was used by the Fascists to promote nationalistic feelings. Pope Benedict XVI family was not at all friendly to the fascist german government. His father was a convicted anti-nazi. Pope Benedict when he was drafted right at the end of the war, like many young boys of his age, he deserted the army, risking death. His family offered the use of their farmhouse as a base of operations to American soldiers, which was in fact used as a base of operations. Pope Benedict XVI has many times argued that the cause of the Allies was just in World War II. He said something to the equivalent of ” that the war, and liberation of the countries, not only helped the Allies, but also ultimately the people living within the boundaries of the fascist dictatorship.” I know that some parts of the media have so far attempted to portray this gentle and humble man as a supporter of the third reich. But all people should know that he is an amazing the large critic of that government, as well as that system of thought. He is more passionately opposed to fascism then anyone.

    Please, I appeal to you all in the name of truth, to give our new holy father, a chance. Do not judge him by media reports, for they are not yet accurate in their coverage. But eventually, they will be, we hope.

  17. this is good but maybe a bit of info on his beliefs but otherwise its all good.

  18. i think this new pope will become a good sucsesor of john paul the 2nd, whos works were very good.
    at the moment because i am so intrested in our papel history,i am writing an essay about our resant popes in my spare time and RE lessons at school

  19. Maciej Bednarz says:

    I am just collectiong links about books and additional information about our new pope and found your wonderful blog as a starting point for further readings with many facts I did not know yet.

    The page is now online for two days and needs some additinal contents, but I am working on it :-))


    Maciej Bednarz

  20. Korol Wojtyla says:

    I do not like him because he said, i quote. “I prayed, and prayed that they would not choose me to become Pope.”

  21. Apparently,with the election of the German Cardinal Ratzinger, we’re now that much closer to the final configuration of the European states into the unholy Roman Empire of the GERMAN Nation, brought to you by the Germans and the Jesuits.

    This is DEAD SERIOUS.

    The fascist EU is a dark cloud over the imminent future of the American, British and Jewish peoples!

    Beyond Babylon: Europe’s Rise and Fall explains WHY.

    David Ben-Ariel

  22. OBAKORE says:


  23. Dear pope Benedikt the 16th


    Before everything I want to ask you that forgive me for my impolitely words. I am so sorry for that but this is the first time that I am writing an e-mail to the pope; and really English is not my native language too. Please forgive me.

    First I want to tell you some things about my self. I am 15 years old Asian girl and I don’t live in a Christian country. I am Christian and I believe that Jesus Christ is alive and he is the Lord, but I am not catholic; I am not protestant too. But I think you are the most powerful man in the world that can be the Christian’s knight.

    I write this letter for telling you about the “DoVinci’s mystery” ( the book that Dan Brown wrote about a year ago). I want to tell you that every one who read this book tell their self: he is right. Jesus was a normal human, Bible is not a real book, the church made it by own; they are lying, there is no Jesus. Jesus is dead… and many other things. Even Christian people who read this said: he is right.

    I’m wandering my self that why you and Vatican are silence? Can’t see that everyone is going to believe that lies. If you are the people’s shepherd why don’t you protect them? Why don’t you protect their faiths? Why don’t you refute these lies? People are losing their faiths. And if you won’t tell anything against these lies it means that he is right.

    Please I am begging you that please save the new and weak faiths. And refute these lies. Like when the last pope refutes “the last temptation of Christ”. Please do something. Everything is going destroy… I think you are the one who can fix this, because you are the most powerful statesman that is Christian.

    Please do something. This is a SOS e-mail form a little girl to Christian’s knight.

    Our Lord belles you:

    A little girl.

  24. Rev. Gerard Schreiber C.Ss.R. says:

    Your dear Eminence,

    Viele Danke fur seinem Brief: Deus caritas est!

    Wunderbar! Wonderful! Magnificaent!

    Auf wiedersehen! Shalom!

    Rev. Gerard Schreiber C.Ss.R.

  25. Bro. Libin Baby says:

    I am Bro. Liin and i want to know more about our pope

  26. Mark Esplan says:

    Keep up the goog work and keep doing the great job of John Paul II. Have a long and prosper life.

  27. saket mishra says:

    Rush to pope

    greetings! First I want to tell you about my self.
    This is saket mishra from India,
    Here in czech republic i am pursuing
    My pHd.i am not christen, but i believe
    in Christianity, because christenity is
    One of the most power full religion
    i n the world. this is my opinion that
    Jesus Christ is alive and he is the Lord,
    For me you are the massager of Jesus
    Christ. I am very keen to meet you,
    This is my dream. I want to tell you
    About my country. India is suffering
    From Terrorist, everyday lot of innocent
    People die; I know whole world is suffering
    from this, so please this my request that
    Please do somthing,because i know very
    Well that you can do every thing. You the
    Most powerfull sprit.
    Please give me a chance to visit your holy
    Place, I just want to see you glimpse, for
    Which I shall remain indebted to you for
    The rest of my life.

  28. peace be to all…IT IS FINISHED!

  29. k thank u. i love my pope

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