New pope elected

Published 7:32 am Wednesday, April 20, 2005

By Staff
Our View
It took only two days, and four or five ballots, but the College of Cardinals has elected a new pope. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, 78, of Germany was elected to the papacy Tuesday. He has taken the name Benedict XVI. He will be the first German-speaking pope since Victor II, who served as Bishop of Rome from 1055-57.
Ratzinger was the Dean of the College of Cardinals since 1981, and is seen as being far more conservative than his predecessor, John Paul II.
There were many rumors that the cardinals would elect an older man, someone who would not produce another 26-year run as pontiff. Many believed the church wanted to allow time for John Paul II's influence to lessen, and find another direction to move in at that time.
We admire many of Pope John Paul II's positions, and Cardinal Ratzinger will follow those to a T. However, we feel a hard-line conservative was not the direction the church needed to take.
Many of us have thrown our support to Cardinal Francis Arinze of Nigeria. A black pope, and a pope from a third-world country, could completely revitalize the church world-wide. In addition to giving many Catholics across the world a reason to feel good about themselves, a decision such as that could also save the lives of many Catholics worldwide.
John Paul II advocated a ban on all forms of birth control, including barrier contraceptives. It is highly unlikely that Benedict XVI will change that stance. Millions of people in Arinze's native Africa are dying from HIV/AIDS, and a big part of that is a lack of contraceptive use. Our money says Arinze would have corrected that.
Despite our personal feelings, however, we wish only the best for Pope Benedict XVI and all his followers.

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