Vatican City, Apr 21, 2005 (CNA) - As one of his first acts as Pope, the newly elected Benedict XVI has reinstated many of the top officials of the Roman Curia.
According to the Vatican, the new Pope re-appointed Cardinal Angelo Sodano, titular of the suburbicarian church of Albano, as secretary of State. He also confirmed Archbishop Leonardo Sandri as substitute for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State, and Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo as secretary for Relations with States of the Secretariat of State.
Pope Benedict also re-confirmed the current secretaries of dicasteries of the Roman Curia for their current five-year terms, the cardinals and archbishops who head dicasteries of the Roman Curia, and the president of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State.
The Vatican noted this morning that the appointments were made “donec aliter provideatur,” meaning, “until the pope makes other arrangements.”
Following the death of a Pope, all top members of the Curia are relieved of their offices until a new Pope appoints his own.
While Pope John Paul II appointed all of the posts re-instated today, it is expected that the new Pope will gradually replace some with officials of his own choosing.
Vatican City, Apr 21, 2005 (CNA) - Yesterday, Vatican press director Joaquin Navarro-Valls announced the upcoming schedule and previous day’s activities for newly elected Pope Benedict XVI.
Navarro-Valls said that yesterday, the Holy Father “visited the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith where, in the course of a very cordial meeting, he greeted the men and women who collaborated with him in that dicastery.”
Afterwards, he noted, Pope Benedict “entered the papal apartments in the Apostolic Palace, removing the seals,” although for the time, he has chosen to remain in the apartment of the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where the College of Cardinals were housed during the conclave.
"The Holy Father”, Navarro-Valls said, “invited some of his collaborators in the Roman Curia to lunch in the 'Domus Sanctae Marthae,' deciding on some of his forthcoming engagements.”
These include a meeting with all cardinals present in Rome on Friday, a meeting with journalists and with social communications workers on Saturday, and his much-anticipated solemn inauguration Mass on Sunday at 10 a.m.
On Monday morning, April 25, Pope Benedict will receive official delegations who have arrived for the inaugural ceremony of his pontificate.
Yesterday afternoon, the Holy Father surprised crowds on the streets of Rome by returned to the apartment in which he used to live in Piazza della Citta Leonina.
A throng soon flocked to the area as word spread that the new pontiff was walking on foot through the city. He greeted and blessed those in the crowd as police and security struggled to provide Benedict with some breathing room.
The excited crowd burst into cheers of “long live the Pope”, and “Benedetto!”
Vatican City, Apr 21, 2005 (CNA) - The choice of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger for Pope was clear “almost from the beginning,” Francis Cardinal George of Chicago told the press yesterday.
His grasp of world history and track record of protecting the faith for the past 24 years have prepared Pope Benedict XVI to lead in a time of worldwide cultural transitions, Cardinal George said in a news conference at the Pontifical North American College following the new Pope’s first mass.
When Karol Wojtyla was elected Pope 26 years ago, some of the most difficult challenges to the Church's mission came from the East, said the cardinal.
"Twenty-six years later, the most difficult challenges to the Church's mission come from the West. There is a man now very well prepared who understands Western society and the history of the world," he said.
He addressed the dismay expressed by critics who are looking for the Church to reform some of its teachings, reported the Chicago Tribune.
"Someone who is looking for changes in the essentials of faith, that's not going to happen under this Pope nor any other," Cardinal George said.
“We all knew Cardinal Ratzinger was a strong candidate because of his particular attitudes," said Cormac Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor, archbishop of Westminster, London. “Only a few others could challenge him for his outstanding aspects," he added.
According to the Chicago Tribute, cardinals at the news conference said they expect the collegial atmosphere among bishops and cardinals to continue. They said Cardinal Ratzinger held his colleague's positions in high esteem and often sought their advice.
Cardinal George also recounted the first time he greeted Pope Benedict XVI in halting German. The Pope responded in English and told Cardinal George that he would renew a U.S. Church policy that gives bishops the power to discipline sexually abusive priests without having to appeal to the Vatican for their removal from the priesthood.
"He remembered our conversation and said he would attend to that, so he immediately zeroed in on our conversation," said Cardinal George, who was president of the U.S. bishops’ conference when the sexual abuse scandal erupted.
San Antonio, Texas, Apr 21, 2005 (CNA) - As Pope Benedict XVI begins to take his place as spiritual shepherd of over 1 billion Catholics, bishops across the U.S. are expressing hope and joy at the election of the German-born Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.
Archbishop Jose Gomez of the Archdiocese of San Antonio, TX, sees the new Pope as a man of “great wisdom and humility.”
Archbishop Gomez noted that “in his homily at the Mass for the beginning of the conclave, [Cardinal Ratzinger] gives us a glimpse of himself as a pope who continues to challenge us as followers of Jesus,” calling the faithful to “the maturity of Christ.”
He noted that, “The new pope is a holy man who worked closely with John Paul II for so many years” and expressed confidence that Benedict would “continue in a spirit of faith and unity, bringing us together to face the needs of the Church and the world with courage and love.”
Archbishop Alex J. Brunett of Seattle joyfully accepted the news of the new pope on Tuesday, saying: “We are delighted that the cardinal electors chose a man of great knowledge and vast experience in the Holy See. Pope Benedict is known as a holy and humble man who is an articulate communicator as well as a good listener.”
Noting the new pope’s close collaboration with John Paul II, Archbishop Brunett said that, “Pope Benedict the XVI has demonstrated a clear understanding of our continuing need for deeper conversion, and we pray that his guidance will teach all of us to live more fully our Catholic faith.”
Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who was part of the electing conclave, said from Rome that, "With Catholics throughout the world, we rejoice at the election of Pope Benedict XVI.”
“What an enormous privilege it was to be a part of his election,” he said, “I was privileged to be able to greet an old friend as our new Holy Father.”
The cardinal noted that "We can thank God for a brilliant theologian and a man who not only understands the theology of the Church, but lives and loves it, and will be a sure and faithful guide and shepherd for us all in the years ahead.”
Added Bishop Samuel J. Aquila of the Diocese of Fargo at a Mass Tuesday night: God continues to watch over us, his people. He never abandons us. As we transition as a Church from one Pope to the next Pope to the next Pope, we always know we stand on the same rock of faith, and that is Jesus Christ.”
Rome, Italy, Apr 21, 2005 (CNA) - Future American priests studying in Rome are cheering the choice of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger as Pope, reported Knight Ridder.
Edward Cardinal Egan, archbishop of New York, said he spoke with some future priests after the conclusion of the papal conclave Tuesday night.
"They were exultant. They were shouting, `Thank you,'" Cardinal Egan said.
"We've just grown up with John Paul II, taken on his views and his approach to things," said Jason Parzynski, 24, who is studying in Rome for the Diocese of Lansing. "Ratzinger was the personal theologian to John Paul II, and he'll carry on."
American priests in Rome said Pope John Paul II nurtured their call to the priesthood at World Youth Day in Denver in 1993 and in Toronto in 2002. Fr. Steve Lopes, 30, said most of those ordained with him in 2001 had attended World Youth Day in Denver.
Theodore Cardinal McCarrick of Washington said he believes Pope Benedict XVI will continue John Paul II's legacy of reaching out to young people, and vocations will come of it.
Pope Benedict XVI is expected to be at the next World Youth Day in August in Cologne, Germany.
Rome, Italy, Apr 21, 2005 (CNA) - Cardinal Walter Kasper said yesterday that Pope Benedict XVI was elected by a wide margin of votes and that he was sure that the new Pontiff would be “the Pope of reconciliation and peace.”
Speaking on Italian television, the German cardinal said the new Pope “has a very pleasant and sensitive personality” and that “the world will see that he is not the person some have portrayed him to be.”
Noting the existence of “prejudices,” some of which he called “disloyal,” against Benedict XVI, Cardinal Kasper said people should let the Pope get to work in his pontificate because “he will surprise everyone.”
Likewise, the cardinal said the swift election of the new Pope, after only four ballots, “is a sign of unity because it was not clear at the beginning that there was going to be agreement so quickly.”
“The cardinals come from different parts of the world, with diverse dreams, problems, and sensibilities. However, a large majority, a unanimity of consensus, was quickly formed,” the cardinal revealed.
Cardinal Kasper, who was President of the Pontifical Council for the Unity of Christians up until the death of Pope John Paul II, expressed his satisfaction with the comments of Pope Benedict XVI on ecumenism and the future of the Church during his first discourse at the conclusion of Mass in the Sistine Chapel on Wednesday.
Addressing the cardinals gathered for the closing of the conclave, the Holy Father said he was “willing” to do everything in his power to promote ecumenism.
Warsaw, Poland, Apr 21, 2005 (CNA) - Poland’s President, Alexander Kwasniewski, sent an official invitation on Wednesday to Pope Benedict XVI to visit Poland, the homeland of the beloved Pope John Paul II.
The Polish president said he was very pleased by the existing bonds between the new Pope and Poland. “I am sure they will be cultivated, reinforced and widened.”
“I am hopeful that a visit to Poland will be one of the first pilgrimages carried out by His Holiness,” said President Kwasniewski, adding that “the love and kindness that Benedict XVI will show the world in his capacity as pastor of the universal Church are values particularly needed in our torn age of terrorism and conflicts.”
“During the numerous encounters I had with John Paul II at the Vatican and in Poland, I had the occasion to get to know Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and I always had the impression that he was a very direct, sincere and cordial person,” the president said.
“All of these virtues were confirmed as Cardinal Ratzinger gave his homily during the funeral of John Paul II. His simplicity and respect for the deceased Pope was very moving,” Kwasniewski said.
“The election of Cardinal Ratzinger as the new Pope is confirmation of the Church’s desire to continue the work of the great Popes of the last decades, to maintain the concern for peace, justice and reconciliation in the world, as well for the unity of Europe.”
Rockford, Ill., Apr 21, 2005 (CNA) - The Howard Center For Family, Religion and Society believes Pope Benedict XVI “will be a strong voice for the natural family," said Allan Carlson, Howard Center president.
In 1988, Carlson co-hosted Pope Benedict XVI, then the prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, as he delivered the Erasmus Lecture in New York City. "It was clear to me then that he wasn't intimidated by modernist critics of his Church," Carlson stated.
In his New York lecture, the future Pope criticized theologians who employ the modern technique of applying strictly scientific methods to analysis of the Bible as having "relegated God to the unknowable."
The mystery of revelation eludes materialists and radical feminists who "are no longer interested in ascertaining truth, but only in whatever will serve their own particular agenda," Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger had said.
The Erasmus Lecture, essays and informal dialogue of the future Benedict XVI with other Christian leaders were published in a book, "Biblical Interpretation in Crisis: The Ratzinger Conference on Bible and Church", which is available from the Howard Center.
Vatican City, Apr 21, 2005 (CNA) - Catholics in Asia and Africa have joyfully welcomed Pope Benedict XVI, expressing their hope that he will continue to maintain the Church’s traditional teachings and values, reported CNSNews.com.
Filipino Cardinal Jaime Sin was ill and could not attend the conclave. But a spokesman said the cleric was satisfied that the new Pope belongs to the same tradition as Pope John Paul II.
The mayor of Manila and pro-life activist Lito Atienza said he was certain that Pope Benedict XVI would follow in John Paul’s footsteps on life issues.
This view was echoed in Kenya, where Catholics held a mass to celebrate the new pontiff at Nairobi’s Holy Family Basilica.
"Because of his closeness to John Paul, we expect him to take a similar stand on the issues of abortion and family planning," Kenyan Archbishop Ndingi Mwana a'Nzeki.
In neighboring Uganda, where HIV-AIDS infection rates have dropped significantly due to abstinence education, President Yoweri Museveni said he is looking forward to working closely with the new Pope.
In India, the All-India Catholic Union welcomed the choice of Pope Benedict XVI. The group's president, John Dayal, described him as "a pillar of peace, a strong votary of human rights and freedom of faith and a protagonist of the life of the unborn.
"As a strong pope, he will articulate our feeling and our needs in the globalized world,” he said. “He will, we are sure, also work for the renaissance of the Church in the modern world, and particularly in the West."
Toledo, Spain, Apr 21, 2005 (CNA) - Archbishop Antonio Cañizares Llovera of Toledo, Spain, said the criticism leveled against Pope Benedict XVI in Spain stem from ignorance and from the dictatorship of relativism, alluded to by Cardinal Ratzinger in his last homily as Dean of the College of Cardinals.
Benedict XVI is “a man who is not authoritarian, but he has great moral authority,” Archbishop Cañizares said, adding that “he is as man of faithfulness to the spirit and letter of the Second Vatican Council.”
Commenting on some of the Pontiff’s characteristics, the archbishop noted that he is “among the best theologians of the last century” and that he is “a man of clear-sightedness and is capable of penetrating to the heart of issues.”
Regarding the criticism that has been leveled against the Pope, Archbishop Cañizares recalled that “similar comments were made about Paul VI and John Paul II.”
These attacks “often are made out of ignorance and motivated by interests that have nothing to do with the faith,” the archbishop continued. “They are criticisms which he himself warned about Monday in his homily, when he mentioned the unbridled pluralism and relativism so out of control that it becomes a true dictatorship over the thought and culture of our times.”
Lastly, Archbishop Cañizares underscored that the direction set out by Pope Benedict XVI “will not be distinct from that which was followed by John Paul II, who himself did not depart from the path laid out by his predecessors.”