Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Habemus Papam!

Today, in Rome, the College of Cardinals assembled in conclave elected Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger as the 264th successor of St. Peter, the Vicar of Christ on earth.

He has chosen Benedict XVI as the name by which he shall now be known by the Church and the world. At about 6:40 PM Rome time he came out on the central loggia of St. Peter's to impart his first blessing urbi et orbi, upon the Church and the whole world.

Just as there has been a torrent of idle speculation regarding who would be the next pope, we'll now see another bout of speculation as to what our new Holy Father is going to do. Given Cardinal Ratzinger's reputation, we soon can also expect to see a stream of complaints from those for whom he will be too "conservative" and "traditional". Of course, to call a Pope "conservative" is no pejorative, as the Pope's whole office and charge is to conserve the Tradition, the Deposit of Faith.

I think that the relative speed with which the cardinals elected Pope Benedict XVI is an indication that the cardinals were of relatively the same mind. Divisions between "conservative" and "liberal" (such as they may be) didn't seem to manifest themselves in this conclave. What Cardinal Ratzinger was most concerned about, as indicated in his homily yesterday, is fidelity to Christ and His teaching, as handed down to us through the Church. That is also foremost in the minds of the cardinal electors, as they chose him to be the Successor to Peter.

Let us pray for Pope Benedict XVI, for this "humble worker in the Lord's vineyard", that he will lead us ever closer to Christ, and to greater fidelity to the Lord's call in our lives.