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Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Habemus Papam!

Long live Pope Benedict XVI.

I am curious to see what the papacy of Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict, will hold. I must admit it's with a bit of a bittersweet feeling that I see a Carmelite Pope replaced by one who takes the name Benedict. And I will admit that I felt absolutely certain that Cardinal Ratzinger would not be the new Pope.

But God, and the Cardinals, know better than I. I've worried some over whether John Paul's legacy of building bridges will continue under a Pope who was inquisitor. I wonder if Pope Benedict's history of what I perceived as extreme conservatism is a thread he will continue, or if perhaps it was simply an expression of the role he held. Time will tell, but above all I know that the Holy Spirit is still in charge.

For those who might see the above statements and worry that I'm a closet liberal, hush and calm your fears. By the standards of most of the world, I'd be considered a staunch conservative. But one of the things I loved about Pope John Paul the Great was the way he strove to bring people back to the fold. I dearly hope that our new Pope will not take such a hard line against heresy that he drives those wavering away, instead of helping to heal them of their misconceptions.

I'm blathering, I realize. My mind is full of a rush of thoughts and emotions right now. One thing I can tell you without reservation, though: I am prepared to love our new Pope. I believe he will be a blessing to our Church.

May God bless Pope Benedict XVI with long life, good health, and above all, wisdom.