White smoke from the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel chimney and the bells of St. Peter’s Basilica announced that a new pope had been chosen today. German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, a strict defender of Catholic orthodoxy for the past 23 years, was elected Pope on just the second day of secret conclave to find a successor to Pope John Paul II. Ratzinger, 78, known as a conservative. took the name Benedict XVI after the second-fastest election of any pope.
“We are moving toward a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognize anything as definitive and has as its highest value one’s own ego and one’s own desires,” he declared at a pre-conclave Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, according to Reuters.
From an anti-Natzi family, as a young man Ratzinger was conscripted into the Hitler Youth. He deserted his unit under penalty of death on moral principles
“I entrust myself to your prayers,” he told the crowd in St. Peter’s Square. Pope Benedict XVI then delivered his first blessing to the city of Rome and the world.
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