This is a second page of your comments about the election of Pope Benedict XVI.
The second page of your comments:
In one sense this is just what the Catholic Church needs - someone who will be popular with its largest group of followers; i.e. the developing world. But his election will prove very divisive here in the West. His hard line on morality is prone to distance many, especially on the subjects of women and abortion. If the Church wanted to elect someone to represent its biggest group of followers, it should have elected a non-Caucasian cardinal. Saddest of all, as guardian of the orthodox he's unlikely to have anything sensible to say about HIV/AIDS which is ravaging so many communities the church is clearly trying to reach. Debate should not be limited to "abstention is the answer" in this day and age. Good luck to him I say, but I shall watch his career with interest, if not a little trepidation.
Mac, Maidstone, UK
The Cardinals have made a mistake that may split the Church. Doctrinal orthodoxy will not lead the way to a more humane Catholicism.
David, New Jersey, USA
This seems to me like a holding position - elect one of John Paul's closest allies to carry on his style of papacy for a few years while looking for a better long term candidate.
Ewan Mac Mahon, York
God's will has been done. I believe Pope Benedict XVI should immediately travel around those places in the world that could feel marginalised by his election like Africa, Latin America, USA, Western Europe (it seems to be the whole world we talking about here). The man has a lot on his shoulders especially keeping up with the popularity of Pope John Paul II. I know several of my African brothers who said that, should an African not succeed Pope John Paul II, they would stop being Catholic. The Africans and Latin Americans are not happy with the election of this new Pope because they feel one of their own should have been the next pope to reward their regions for being the most rampantly increasing in Catholics in the past couple of decades. As for USA and Western Europe, they are not happy because they feel that this new Pope is too conservative to keep in touch with our ever changing world. The burden lies with this new Pope to prove to us that he really is the one. God be with him.
Lanre Euler, New York, USA
So, instead of a dictatorship of relativism, we will have a dictatorship of conservatism. Unfortunately what Cardinal Ratzinger fails to acknowledge is that many of the controversial doctrines he insists on upholding (many of which seem to have no basis in Scripture) will further alienate the Church throughout the world.
Martin Long, Wigan, UK
This is an appalling choice, since Ratzinger's record on promoting dialogue with other churches is lamentable.
Edmund Neill, Oxford, UK
I think the church has missed a golden opportunity to elect a people Pope. What a huge mistake.
Andy Yarrow, Nova Scotia, Canada
I agree with a lot of the comments already made. I think the Catholic Church needs someone who will bring the Church into the present instead of living in the past. By electing an older cardinal, I think this will be an interim reign.
R Elliott, Seattle
A conservative at the wrong moment. For the first years, nothing will change. Until some kind of 'split' or revolution will come. Sure his age has helped the choice.
Fredrik, Leuven, Belgium
Most here in Philadelphia would prefer Kasper.
Shon Bjerregaard, Philadelphia, PA USA
We have a new Pope! Joseph Ratzinger is a great and holy man; he will prove to be a great Pontiff who ensures that the Church is strong and united. We pray for him and our Church.
Timothy Howard, Pinner, UK
A wonderful choice. I'm delighted. The Catholic Church continues to stand up undiluted for what is right with great dignity. What is right is not necessarily an easy path on the surface, but we should embrace it as the truth and that which makes us free.
Sam Biggin, London
I am atheist, but I am disappointed. The Catholic Church needs to leave of Europe, and to show that is really a universal church.
Ratzinger's election has disproved the much-quoted saying "He who goes into the conclave a Pope, leaves a Cardinal". He was the favourite and clearly played Vatican politics very well.
David, London, UK
As a Roman Catholic I am happy to hear of the new Pope's election. However, I am filled with apprehension knowing how conservative Cardinal Ratzinger has been in his thinking and doctrine.
Adele Vera-Angel, New York City, USA
This is really too bad. I think the Church would have been much better served to have chosen someone more moderate and from Latin America or Asia. I agree with others here that this Pope will alienate more Catholics from their church.
Richard Eppert, Indianapolis, USA
Seems like a compromised choice - satisfying the traditionalists for the period of their influence yet offering the opportunity for change in the not too distant future.
I am very disappointed that the Cardinals did not take this opportunity to give a real and powerful voice to the third world.
Nicole Merritt, Austin, Texas
I am glad that the Church has someone who will keep the faith in accordance with what Jesus commanded, not with what the morally corrupt man in the western world wants. May God lead and bless him.
J Trahar, Port Talbot - Wales
It looks like they opted for a safe but temporary pair of hands. Essentially they did not have the courage to be radical.
G Sadlier, Saintes
It seems a bit short-sighted to elect someone who is 78 years old and therefore who will not be able to establish himself with the authority that JPII did. The cardinals will get another opportunity to choose someone more liberal in less than another 26 years.
Timothy Cooke, Cayman Islands
Not the most qualified and best suited.
Mark Johnson, New York
I am disappointed; I think we should have a pope from Latin America or Africa in order to expand the church horizons. Another European pope especially from Germany and a hardliner will make a lot of people more sceptical of the church as organization. A lost opportunity to bring the church closer to the people.
The church bells in town are ringing. They sound more like the funeral bells of Catholicism in Western Europe to me.
Liesbeth, Leuven, Belgium
With Benedict XVI at age 78, we might be in for another pope in a few years. Didn't I read somewhere that such Popes are termed "interims"?
Desmond, Madison, WI, USA
While we thank God for a new Pope, we also mourn a lost opportunity to elect an African pontiff - Africa is the future engine of Catholicism.
Matthew, New York, USA
As a young Catholic, I'm pleased with the decision. If changing the Church's approach means moving away from the core values as shown by John Paul II, it would be a sad day. God bless Benedict XVI.
Given the strength of Catholicism in Latin America, and the legacy of the Church's representatives there who have stood for human and workers' rights (risking, and losing, their lives against some brutal autocracies), the Vatican has really alienated those who have fought and clung to the core of their faith. What message does the election of Ratzinger send to faithful Catholics in real hardship?
Liam, London, UK
His words are the words of God. God doesn't turn from conservative to progressive overnight.
Leen, Nottingham, UK
A fantastic person to carry on all the good work Pope John Paul did all over the world. But I wish in this day and age he was 20 years younger.
Brian Carey, Merseyside
This is no time to be negative. He is now the Pope, let the world welcome him with open arms.
Arif Shah, Karachi, Pakistan
I am not Catholic, but I have to admit I am extremely disappointed. A little moderation at this time would have gone a long way to help the Roman Catholic religion grow again. Instead we will now how continued intolerance and suppression from the highest level of the Church.
Leah K, Phoenixville, PA, USA
A tactical decision. Whoever follows John Paul II has to uphold conservative views to maintain continuity: electing a "progressive" Pope would have seemed like an insult to John Paul II. Ratzinger is 78. He's a safe pair of hands, while the Vatican considers the future.
Adam, Kent, UK
We should give the new Pope a chance. I too am worried by his conservative reputation; but, with a new name, his new role as Pope provides a new opportunity. He is known as an intellectual heavyweight, with a strong personality. We should wish him well, and hope for the best.
It is history that will judge whether this selection is the correct one. My only hope is that in the years to come the Catholic Church do not look back and wish they had taken the bold step and appointed a non-white, non-European Pope.
Paul Wakeley, Shropshire, UK
I really have to question the wisdom of electing a 78-year-old to the post. The question must be asked: how long will he last?
Alasdair MacNeill, Inverness, Scotland
This just confirms my belief that the Roman Catholic church has no interest in moving forward in the new millennium. Disappointing - but not surprising.
Even as he comes across as a conservative hardliner, we pray he is guided by the holy spirit and leads the Church into a better tomorrow, as did his predecessor, during his life time.
Kenneth Fernandes, Mumbai, India
I think Benedict the XVI will make a wonderful new Pope. God bless him. One hundred and fifteen Cardinals would not have chosen him so quickly if they did not see something special in him.
Not good news unfortunately. As a Catholic I was looking for a reformer with some charisma. Ratzinger does not appear to be either of these.
Stephen Large, London
I am pleased with the election of a conservative Pope. The Roman Catholic Church is not a democracy and should not be swayed by public opinion. Even if you don't like it, I believe people need clear and consistent direction on moral issues.
Tom, Upper Providence, PA
I am surprised at the negative comments! Whatever happened to: "Judge not, lest ye be judged"? Let's wait and see - he may surprise us. I doubt anyone could accept the position of Pope and not be changed, sometimes in the most extra-ordinary way.
Brian Longstaff, Oldham, UK
I think Ratzinger is the ideal choice: an educated, intellectual and uncompromised cardinal. The right choice for the difficult times that Christianity is experiencing, especially in semi-deChristianised Europe. Long Live Benedict XVI.
Nikos Doukas, Athens, Greece
Whatever our opinions, this Pope has been chosen after a lot of prayers - let us continue to pray for him. Let us also pray for unification of the Church despite our individual disagreements on issues, keep the faith and continue the good works commissioned by the Lord's servant, St Peter. We are, after all, one in the body of Christ.
Susan, KY, USA
It is a sad day for anyone left of centre in the Catholic Church. As the known guardian of orthodoxy in the Church I expect that his rule will push more people away from the Church.
Michael Roach, London, Ontario, Canada
Disappointment. It should have been a Latin American choice, who understands the poor and the needs of the needy. I hope they know what they have done.
TD Rothwell, Stockport, England
OK, so his opinions are different from most of the West, but I think we must not expect the Church to change its opinions just because the Western world can't stomach it. Let Pope Benedict XVI be a beacon in the dark
Ratzinger was not the best candidate to replace John Paul II. The conclave missed a golden opportunity to become more modern. But, then again, I'm not sure the Vatican wants to become more modern. Hopefully Ratzinger will set himself apart and become a good Pope. I wish him luck.
Charles R, Denver, USA
I'm disappointed. I really hoped for a progressive Pope who would try and keep the religion from interfering with the politics of nations which are overwhelmingly not Christian any more. There will be even more pressure on Western governments to regress their human rights policies towards minority groups.
Katie, Midlands, UK
I am glad to see the Catholic Church has not succumbed to fashionable decadence and immorality and that Benedict XVI will uphold the virtues of his predecessor. He is a strong and intelligent man and will appeal to African and Asian faithful.
David Russell, Paris, France
Ratzinger was obviously the favourite to become Pope. While I was hoping for someone more progressive, perhaps the cardinals were looking for a solid administrator for an interim period. The Church moves slowly, as we all know. They probably wanted someone who wouldn't change things very much.
Robin Ireland, West Chester, Pa, USA
Best choice and I hope he will make world more peace and guide people to right path.
Ahsan-ul Morshed, Dhaka, Bangladesh
As an American Catholic I am extraordinarily pleased at the elevation of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger to the Holy See. He will provide the strength and guidance necessary to continue the work of defining the Church and its all-important role in the ever more secular world in which we live. I am sure he is up to the task.
Peter, Syracuse, NY, USA
I held some hope for a move towards the more modern times within the church - of course, that hope has now vanished.
Without knowing anything about the new Pope, I was hoping for the Pope to be a representative from the third world, or at least outside Europe. It always seems to be focused around Europe when Catholicism clearly extends a lot, lot further than that.
A brave stand against the tide of moral and ethical decline in Christianity and the wide world.
Jeremy Silverman, London
Not my choice but hopefully it is that of God. As firm a stance on those who committed sexual abuses as on most other matters would tackle a major nagging issue for me as a practising Catholic.
Brian Golden, Dublin, Ireland
I am happy for the new Pope, but why not Arinze? I guess the Church is still not ready for a black pope. I am disappointed.
Karl Mourfy, Ann Arbor, Michigan
They have elected a safe pair of hands. He is 78, and will probably last around 6-7 years, but will take John Paul II's vision forward and make way for a younger Pope when the time comes. I think it's a very intelligent choice.
Rob Palladino, Austin, Texas
As a Catholic, I accept Ratzinger as the new Pope. Nevertheless, while I believe the Church should not change to suit every fashion, we need a Pope who has an understanding of the issues facing modern members of the Church.
Duncan Philip Connors, London
I think we should just wish him the best of luck. What right do we have to say who's right for the job? The conclave made the decision they thought best.
At his age he has to be seen as an interim Pope. Hopefully his election will give the more progressive members of the Church time to get ready for the next, more liberal, Pope.
Gillian, Dublin, Ireland
The Church cannot move with popular opinion like a politician, but must be strong in its beliefs and ideals. This is not international politics, it is our religion. Do not confuse the two.
Dan , Fort Lauderdale USA
Though the process was quick, I don't think anyone has made a mistake, as some suggest. Christians are supposed to follow the Church, not vice versa. The Church does not have to change with the times. If this alienates the West from the church, then the people in the West must think hard about why this is. Increasing refusal to adhere to the rules and practices of the Church is one reason why the West has so much alienated itself from Christianity
Victor Cruz D'Souza, Milton Keynes
I'm disappointed, but I understand the reasoning behind this. The Church decided to elect a conservative guardian of the faith for a few years while some of the dilemmas the church is in are sorted out. My bet is that the next Pope will be much younger and liberal-minded.
Mario, Bogota, Colombia
An ageing pope - I don't think many people will be surprised. I think this will be a step forward for the Catholic Church. Choosing another Pope John Paul may have proved popular but in the long run this would have been unproductive. All in all, a good move.
Tim Turner, Bath, UK
No surprise then. This is bad news for Africa. We'll have to wait another few decades for the Catholic church to consider taking a more reasonable stance on contraception.
Tom, London, UK
The world is in turmoil and changing rapidly. With the choice of Ratzinger, the Church has elected not to meet the challenges. Such a missed opportunity!
Mervyn, Los Angeles, USA
A very clever choice by the conclave, a 'holding' papacy while the Church adjusts to the needs of the 21st Century. With all due respect to our new 78 year old Holy Father, this is unlikely to be the longest Pontificate in history. Pope Benedict XVI will serve God and the faithful while the Church can look forward to what sort of papacy it wishes next after his reign. That way the Church evolves rather than suffers schism.
Stephen Lock, Moscow, Russia
While it's obvious the Church was not ready for a new, radical pontiff, I can't understand why they would go for a Pope who is so old. They could be doing this again in just five years. Not very efficient for a Church that is still in the 20th Century.
Andrew, Detroit, MI, USA
Ratzinger is a very poor choice of a pontiff given the current divide between the Church and the people of the modern world. We needed a unifier, somebody in touch with the modern world. Now we have a cold, uncompromising leader.
Rory Morty, Giessen, Germany
God Bless Pope Benedict XVI. May God bless and guide him every step of the way. A controversial choice but it was obviously felt to be the right one.
I am pleased with the appointment of Ratzinger. As a 20 year old I am pleased that someone who will uphold the traditions of the Catholic church and I am disappointed in the so called Catholics who feel otherwise.
The holy spirit has spoken. May our holy father Benedict XVI lead the church by being an example to all and being a peacemaker among all nations.
Delia , Miami, FL
I think he was elected as an interim Pope, while they "groom" another candidate perhaps?
Vinod, Troy, MI
Well, I wasn't entirely sure Cardinal Ratzinger would be the best candidate for Pope. However, the choice has now been made and we must welcome and love him and trust that his staunch conservative views may be liberalised by listening to his people. Welcome Pope Benedict XVI and God Bless.
Pauline Lewis, Southampton, England
This is wonderful news. Despite the predictions that the Church has gone - or will go - to the dogs, history proves that it is the dogs who always perish. Anyone who has come into contact with Ratzinger has been impressed by his engagement and intellect. This is a Pope to meet 21st-century challenges: ad multos annos!
Paul Scott, Lawrence, KS, USA
To those who feel this appointment to be a little hasty: the decision was reached so quickly because God was speaking particularly clearly today.
It's what one would expect on the Catholic Church. A conservative, authoritarian figure. For non-Catholics, such as myself, it is a major disappointment with the new Pope standing for may of the things that are outmoded: inequality, lack of choice, authoritarianism, intellectual hypocrisy, and elitism.
Good luck, Pope Benedict XVI. The task ahead is pretty impressive, it will a real challenge for him to fill John Paul II's shoes. May God bless him
Alain Nkurunziza, Bujumbura, Burundi
In electing Ratzinger, the Catholic Church has really missed the opportunity to narrow the divide between the Church and the modern world. This was a monumental mistake, second only to the election of John Paul II.
Rory Morty, Giessen, Germany
Let's just hope that the predictions of ultra-conservatism are mistaken. The Church needs a Pope that can lead it forward, not backwards.
David A, Catford
May the blessing of God rest heavy on the new Pope.
Rona, Johannesburg, South Africa
I have just read his views on homosexuality and as usual, nothing changes in the Catholic Church.
Lee Ludlow, Carmarthen, Wales
Why should the Church compromise to satisfy the world's moral liberalists? Here is a man who will stick to the Church's teachings. If you disagree, you are free to follow a religion of your choice. God Bless Benedict XVI.
Nichola Feeney, Dundee, Scotland
78 years old - a transition Pope then! But a very conservative one as well. I hope this will give time for the Church to prepare the foundations of a great change next time.
Gizster, London, UK
What a surprise! A conservative conclave elects a conservative Pope. This appointment will do nothing for the Aids epidemic in Africa, nor for the ordination of women or understanding of homosexuality. This man will follow in his predecessors footsteps and take the Church back not forward!
David, London, UK
I am not Catholic, but I think the decision is a mistake. While the traditions of the Church are its backbone, it will wither and die if it doesn't cater to the needs of the modern world.
As a Catholic who is increasingly losing faith with the Church, this is a sore disappointment. The Church will continue to slide in Europe. It is sad the Church has once again chosen to exclude women.
Many comments seem to be ignoring the fact that the Holy Spirit works in electing a new Pope. This is not an election to please the people. I think it's great that the new Pope is a man that is uncompromising in his beliefs and in the values of the Church.
I Fletcher, Exeter
My God the almighty, bless this man as he takes a huge role in the Catholic Church. People have been quick to criticise his appointment, but give him a chance, and don't condemn him before he even begins his papacy.
Only God knows if the Cardinals have chosen correctly, and hopefully they have. I am disappointed that so many people feel the Pope should be selected by what country he is from. This age of being "political correct" should have nothing to do with whom leads the church.
John S, Arizona, USA
May the Lord bless him and keep him, and give him strength. He's been handed a great burden as well as a great gift. And following directly in the footsteps of John Paul the Great will not be easy
Anna, London, UK
As a Roman Catholic I am deeply saddened but not surprised that a man who lacks vision and is so incredibly remote from the ordinary Catholics is chosen as Pope. The only choice now for Catholics who disagree with authoritarianism in the Church is to vote with their feet - and in their millions I think they will.
Ciaran, UK, Guildford
Why pick someone so old? They will have to go through this process again very soon, which surely is not good for any consistency in the church.
Another European Pope, he seems to be a good successor to John Paul II. Being close to the late pope probably gives him a better understanding of his role of pope. I look forward to hearing his world views over the next few days.
Michael Hurley, London, England
I am joyful that we have a new Pope! It is good that he is someone that was close to John Paul II so he can continue his magnificent work.
Miguel Velasco, Mexico City, Mexico
More years of oppression for women wanting to use contraception and more innocent lives lost in AIDS-stricken Africa and South America. Shame on the Catholic Church and its followers who maintain support for such teachings.
Another blow for liberalism as the church follows the political world and lurches further to the right.
Ed Carberry, Belfast, UK
An excellent choice of Pope, I am delighted and wish him all the best.
I guess it was wishful thinking that the church would enter the 21st Century with the election of a moderate. Ratzinger's views on women's rights, Islam and a host of other issues puts the Church back squarely in the dark ages.
James, Toronto, Canada
An ultra conservative Pope may not be what today's western youth need in terms of keeping with the times. However, our new pope has the responsibility of dealing with many strong issues facing the Christian world. Good luck to him and may God bless him and guide him.
Rob Glennon, London, UK
I doubt a 78 year old Pope will bring the much needed lease of life to the Church.
Sarah, Leeds, UK
Give him a chance - he's only just got the job!
I'm not a Catholic but if you accept that there is a single truth which is revealed through a holy book then all this talk of missed opportunity is simply illogical. If there is one truth, and God guides the election of the Pope, then Ratzinger is the correct choice. Religious truth is not malleable.
Matt S, York, UK
I am pleased we have a new Pope. However, I was hoping for someone who could lead us in the new world order and not a traditionalist. We should be finding ways to build bridges which is needed to bring back to the fold those who feel alienated due to the past inflexible interpretation of the church's doctrines.
Keith Harris, Frederick, USA
Wonderful news! This is good for the Catholic Church and all Christians everywhere. We can count on John Paul II's wonderful work continuing.
Robert, Waukegan IL USA
It doesn't matter what part of the world the Pope comes from. It only matters that he is faithful to the Gospel message and, in so doing, is a focus and cause of unity for the Church and the world. I believe Benedict XVI will accomplish this. But we must pray and keep the faith.
Amette Ley, Eastbourne, UK
I'm disappointed the Church didn't decide to go with a Latin American Cardinal. My wish was for the Cardinal from Honduras. I guess the election was based on who would have the shortest reign. It's a disappointment: but I offer my prayers to the new leader of our Church.
George Garcia, Greer, United States
You cannot compromise morality. A clear message has been given and a clear choice made. May Benedict XVI continue in John Paul II's steps.
Fear: that the fundamentalist trend in the Church will increase. Hope: whatever happens, the Holy Spirit has an agenda and I trust that she will lead us where we need to be. Speculation: should Benedict XVI lead the Church to the extreme "right" this could be the time for a schism or else a revolution. Perhaps this is exactly what we need today.
Lovina Pammit, Mundelein, USA
As an Anglican evangelical I'm encouraged that this man seems to be Christ-centred. But his apparently conservative views will probably drive yet more in the West away from Roman Catholicism, and indeed Christianity in general, which is a great, great shame.
Charlie, Birmingham, England
God is good. In the moment when we most keenly missed our leader and father, He has given us someone strong, someone we can lean in on.
Gabrielle Corica, New York, NY USA
I believe the new Pope will be good for the church as he appears to be someone who has the ability to take charge and lead the people when they need him the most. I think he will be a strong political figure who will stand up for what is right, the world needs men like him and i am sure he will not fail us.
Kavita Mohanty, Mumbai, India
This was what I had feared most. As I finish my doctorate in Roman Catholic theology and prepare to find a professorship, I worry very much that Ratzinger's papacy will create a reactionary climate that may threaten academic freedom at Catholic universities, and render the Church increasingly inhospitable for faithful, but progressive voices within the Church.
Anonymous, Notre Dame, IN
Was hoping for and expecting a younger man but I'm absolutely delighted to see Cardinal Ratzinger appointed!
Martin McDonald, Glasgow
I'm very happy for Ratzinger being elected as the new Pope. He's a man of God, faithful to Christ's word. He is a very intelligent man who can handle the challenges the church has and guide it through the true path. God bless Benedict XVI!!
Sergio Williams Diaz, Pamplona, Spain
I am excited about the new Pope and the future of the Catholic Church. He will be an excellent Pope and expand on the mission of inclusion that Pope John Paul emulated.
Boris, San Francisco, USA
While personally hopeful for a Pope from the developing world for a strong stance on social justice, I nonetheless pray and hope for the new Pope in the momentous task ahead of him. May the task of his office be lightened by the love and grace of Christ and the wisdom of Solomon.
Sean K, Boston, USA
I fail to understand why a 78 year old cardinal has been chosen to be the Pope. Shouldn't they have chosen someone younger?
Rabbana Omar, Dhaka, Bangladesh
I'm Jewish and I probably shouldn't say, but I think it would have sent a better message to the world to chose someone from Latin America, Brazil or Africa where the issues of poverty and overpopulation are most acute.
Kenny , New York City, USA
What a pity. A new direction for the Catholic Church is what I was hoping for.
Scott, Brainerd, MN USA
Cardinal Ratzinger stands on rock-solid principle. While his moral relativist critics will dance to any theological beat, this Pope will stay true to the traditions and teachings of the Catholic Church.
Brian J. Berry, Austin, Texas USA
How extraordinary it is to elect a Pope aged 78. Pope John Paul II reigned for 26 years and was the youngest Pope ordained in the 20th century. I understand that at the age of 80 it is deemed that cardinals are no longer allowed to take part in the election of the new Pope. How can the Church of Rome see through new policy and doctrinal decisions before it will be necessary to elect another new Pope? This was a golden opportunity to elect yet another younger Pope with vigour.
Martin Sands, Lostwithiel, Cornwall
Let's give the new Pope a chance to make his mark. The last Pope was also elected quickly and even his critics admit he was a great man.
The Catholic Church has never advocated AIDS, overpopulation or poverty. Its preferred solutions involve sacrifice and abstinence in the context of loving married relationships. Is that so bad?
Peter Dylewski, London, UK
May people of goodwill and Catholics especially pray that he may influence all for the better. Praise God!
Tomás Hayes, Wexford Ireland
Although I am not a Roman Catholic, I have been particularly interested in the Papal elections having never experienced one before in my lifetime. I am amazed that the Cardinals have chosen another European Pope when the growth of the Catholic Church lies within Africa and South America.
Given the decline of Catholicism in Europe and the growing church with its conservative views throughout the Africa, Latin America and the third world, Pope Benedict XVI will serve as a fine bridge of the two diverse positions.
His task will be very challenging as he must grow the church in Europe while still satisfying the views of the balance. The issues presently facing the church will require modern and calculated thought that the church must consider if it wants to remain progressive, yet true to its faith.
Jim Ruiz, NYC, USA
I am over the moon with the election of Benedict XVI. I look forward as a young person (20) to his leadership.
Aoife Johnson, Perth, Australia
With Cardinal Ratzinger as Pope we can be confident of a strong Papacy even if not a progressive one
As a liberal Catholic I am dismayed, but not surprised given the number of conservative cardinals appointed by John Paul II. I think this may split the Catholic Church. Unless the new Pope changes his teachings in relation to the challenges faced in Africa and South America, especially, then this could be a disastrous papacy.
John Hayes, London, UK
Choosing a conservative Pope will send the wrong message to millions of potential converts living in already overpopulated countries and those trying to cope with the Aids epidemic in Africa.
Bruce, White Rock, Canada
Exactly what is needed - a staunch conservative to remind the world how anachronistic and outmoded the Catholic Church has become. With any luck, as those who dare to think for themselves get further alienated, perhaps there is a glimmer of hope for a world free from organised religion.
More of the same as to why I am no longer catholic.
Rando Wilson, Columbus, OH, USA
Well spoken cardinals - I am sure Benedict XVI will continue the trend that encourages the faithful to listen avidly to the words of the Holy Father, and then diligently believe and act completely otherwise.
Peter Filicietti, Thailand
I am really happy after receiving the news that we have a new Pope elected by more than two-thirds of the cardinals. This shows that there is unity in our Catholic Church, contrary to what many people feared. God Bless him and enlighten him.
Daniel Castro, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
I wish the new Pope well. He has large boots to fill however it looks like the cardinals have chosen not to address the issue of modernisation.
Brian, Carlisle, England
I am excited about the new Pope and the future of the Catholic Church. He will be an excellent Pope and expand on the mission of inclusion that Pope John Paul emulated.
Boris, San Francisco, USA
Well I don't think my views are going to matter much. This is an ultra conservative man they have chosen. Time marches backwards. The relevancy of the church will continue to diminish.
Haley, Austin Texas
I think the newly elected pope has a lot to live up for and it will be a tough challenge to emulate the immense pontificate of John Paul II. It is crucial for the Church to move forward now and I am filled with joy to have a new Pope. I am sure that the new Pope is the right man for the job.
Albert Stone, Banbury, England
I think the people should have a say in this selection. The pope choice affects over one billion believers. He should be elected by them not by some cardinals who will never be greatly affected by the pope's personality since they are anyway retired from social life.
Galeena, Montreal, Canada
Our new Pope must understand that the Catholic religion was created in a different time for people facing different challenges. He should be willing to reach out to people to understand the challenges of today so that he can lead the majority of people where Catholicism is the main religion.
Most people need the guidance of strong spiritual leader to help them learn about such things as love, family values, forgiveness, sharing of material wealth, honesty, and inner peace, to name just a few.
Belinda Fletcher, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
The new Pope will hopefully be able to guide the Roman Catholic Church with the power of the Holy Spirit upon his heart and soul.
Cindy Collver, Jackson, USA
Great! A very powerful man with real Christian vision who can lead his people with genuine spirituality and love.
Roy Xavier, Bristol, UK
I'm not Catholic, but I believe that this is a very big mistake. It didn't take long for them to decide on such an important person. What a waste of a perfectly good opportunity to bring the Catholic Church back to life. I have always held this Church in high esteem but it has now slipped down a few notches.
Sandra, Grahamstown, South Africa
I am glad that the process is over and it did not take many days. This probably means that it was an easy decision.
Jon, Green Bay, USA
Once again the Catholic Church has showed itself to be out of touch with the modern world. A 78 year old pontiff with conservative views wont reconcile the lost generation to the church.
Alan Kelly, Dublin, Ireland
I'm elated the news. Their selection presents a new era for the Catholic Church and the whole world. The following years will surely prove to be a truly exciting time for Christians everywhere.
Glory be to God that we now have a new Pope. Let him emulate the works of John Paul II and let him work for the peace of mankind and peace on earth.
Orji Gerald Afam, Lagos Nigeria
Although not a Catholic personally, I'm disappointed that we yet again have a conservative pontiff who will do nothing to help suppress the spread of aids in Africa by advocating contraception.
Steve, Lancaster, England
I am very disappointed in the choice of Pope. By choosing such a hard line conservative we are all but guaranteed another decade of oppressive church rule. I was praying that a moderniser would be brought in to resolve the archaic stance of the church regarding abortion, contraception and women in the clergy.
Tim Coley, Epsom, UK
Instead of complaining about modernisation of the Church, why not come closer to its traditional teachings. God Bless Benedict XVI.
I hope the Church maintains its traditional stance on issues regarding abortion, marriage, men-only priests...in defiance of popular morality.
Andy, Colorado, USA
I wish the man well, but what a disaster for a church that needs to bring some of its teachings into the modern world. This is not good for the developing world, which urgently needs a new approach.
Graham Walker, Boulder, Colorado
It's a very sad day for the Catholic Church and for right-thinking Christians, indeed those of any theological persuasion. This will set back the process of unity and inclusion and ultimately our greater understanding of each other and of God, hundreds of years. God certainly is moving in a very mysterious way.
Paul Robinson, Hampshire, UK
So they have picked the most conservative candidate possible, appealing to the growth areas of Africa and the Third world but not the western world. Another slide in the popularity of the church in Europe beckons.
An opportunity has been lost!
Oseh George, Oslo, Norway
I'm very surprised at the speed the pontiff was elected, they must be very sure they have found the right man for the job.
John Maclennan, Glasgow
May God bless Pope Benedict XVI and guide him...
Dave Roberts, England
In electing Ratzinger the Church has missed a golden opportunity to drag itself out of the middle ages and into the modern day.
Oh dear. Another hardliner, but without the heart of the late JPII. This Pope could alienate a lot of the faithful, and even split the Catholic Church.
I'm not a Catholic but I think the conclave has made a huge mistake. The church needed someone to bring it back to life not an arch conservative. This will effectively spell the end of Roman Catholicism in our life time.
Simon S, London
I have to express some disappointment. The church in the West must move with the times and the hard line, highly uncompromising attitudes expressed suggest that the western world will become even more distant from the advice and command of Rome.
Martin Walklate, St Albans, England
I think it's terribly quick for such a monumental decision. Considering how the church was going before John Paul II died, I really hope the new guy is more progressive, especially in the area of the role of women in the church. I am doubtful, however, that this will be the case.