By Clare Murphy
BBC News website in Munich
Whether they like or loathe his conservative
doctrine, those walking in the wet shadow of Munich's twin-towered Frauenkirche, where Cardinal Ratzinger was consecrated as a bishop nearly 30 years ago, were agreed.
His election as the first German pope for the best part of 1,000 years is seen here as an honour for Germany, a
country which is starting to reassert itself on the international stage after the traumas of the 20th Century.
"I'm actually from the village he was born in!" says
an excited Martina Ertl, a teacher in her twenties.
She objects strongly to his hard line on abortion, contraception and homosexuality, "but it's still great to have a German pope."
Bavarians have been praying for the new Pope
"It's definitely a good thing for the country,"
agrees Rene, a decorator. "Even from the perspective
of a non-believer like me."
And among those who do believe, many of whom saw him
in action when he was bishop of Munich, his election
is seen as a boon for church as well as country.
Critics have attacked not just his tough conservative
stance - speculating that it may alienate churchgoers
of the 21st Century who prefer a more flexible
doctrine - but also wonder whether the 78-year-old is charismatic enough to engender much affection.
"People have got to get know him better," says
Bettina Utzschmidt, a 54-year-old nurse. "At the
moment he seems a rather distant academic type, but I
think it will only be a matter of time before people
warm to him."
"He's really not as hard as he's being portrayed."
But others hope that at the same time the academic
prowess of the theologian, who taught at various
prestigious German universities before becoming head
of the doctrinal body which took over from the
inquisition, will also be appreciated.
Ratzinger left Munich to work in the Vatican in 1981
"He is a phenomenally clever man, and if people
really read carefully what he said - rather than just
picking bits out and presenting them out of context -
they would have a better idea of him and his faith,"
said Gabrielle Oettl, a pensioner.
"I wouldn't deny however that he has made some
inflammatory statements on issues like homosexuality -
although we shouldn't forget that has long been the
stance of the Catholic Church," she added.
"He's a true believer," said Dr Michael Werner, a
lawyer. "And he takes a tough but fair line on several
matters of faith. I think that is absolutely right."
It could well prove the case that the new pope proves
less rigid as pontiff than he appeared as cardinal.
"I'd predict that he'll actually be a bit more
relaxed," said Mrs Oettl.
But all are aware of the fact that, while the new pontiff may be
in apparently excellent health, he is not a young man.
No-one is expecting him to go the same way as
Damasus II, the German pope of 1048 who lasted just
23 days in the post. Nonetheless, "transitory" was a
word used more than once.
"He could well prove polarising with his hardline
views, but I just don't believe that his is going to
be a long, significant pontificate," said Gerhard
Krautmann, an ecclesiastical artist.
"I think it won't be long before we're looking at a
younger pope - possibly from South America. Bavarians
are going to have to make the most of this pontiff
while they've got him."