Catholic Church's New Pope

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photoAt the Vatican today, first there was a wisp of white smoke from the chimney atop the Sistine Chapel. Then, the bells of Saint Peter's Basilica rang out. Moments later, Cardinal Medina Estevez of Chile appeared at the Vatican balcony and announced to the thousands in Saint Peter's Square and the world, "We have a new pope!"

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger has been picked to be the 265th Pope of the Catholic Church. The 78-year-old German cardinal, widely regarded as the Vatican's doctrinal watchdog, and close advisor to his predecessor, John Paul II, stepped forward dressed in the ornate red and gold garments of the papacy and declared his promise to be "a humble worker in God's vinyard."

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger takes the name of Pope Benedict XVI. He also takes the helm of a diverse, sometimes divided, global church, 1.1 billion Catholics strong, at a critical moment in history. Ratzinger is a hard-line Catholic intellectual who takes an unyielding stance against the ordination of women, the marriage of priests, and homosexuality.

Hear a discussion on the implications and the road ahead for the Catholic Church under the leadership of Pope Benedict XVI.


Michael Paulson, correspondent for the Boston Globe

Stephen Pope, Associate Professor of Theology, Boston College

Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, journalist in-residence at Fordham University.

This program aired on April 19, 2005.


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