April 19, 2005Joseph Ratzinger of Germany waves to the
crowd on Saint Peter's Square in Vatican City shortly after being
elected pope today. The new supreme leader of the Roman Catholic
Church, who turned 78 on Saturday, has chosen to be called Pope
A close confidant of the late Pope John Paul II, Cardinal Ratzinger served as dean of the College of Cardinals. The college presided over the funeral and burial of John Paul and convened the conclave that elected Ratzinger the new pope. At a mass before the conclave convened, he urged the cardinals to resist ideological fashions and novelties. His remarks were widely interpreted as a conservative's call to rally around long-held Vatican positions, such as opposition to contraception, women in the priesthood, and a noncelibate priesthood.
Born in Bavaria in 1927, Ratzinger is a police officer's son who grew up in a farming family. The Nazi military drafted him during World War II, and he later deserteda crime punishable by death. In the 1970s he served as a top university administrator before being named Cardinal of Munich in 1977. Since 1981 he has been the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, which is charged with promoting and safeguarding the church's policies on faith and morals.
Ted Chamberlain and David Braun
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