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Last Updated: Sunday, 24 April 2005, 10:00 GMT 11:00 UK
Benedict XVI: Americas views
Joseph Ratzinger - Pope Benedict XVI
Hundreds of readers from across the Americas have sent us their reaction to the election of Joseph Ratzinger as the new Pope.

Here is a selection of their comments.

The following comments reflect the balance of views received:

As a Jew I am shocked by the choice the Catholic Church has made. An ex Hitler Youth member? What were they thinking? I hope that the Catholic Church can maintain a decent relationship with the Jewish community.
Aaron M., San Jose, Costa Rica

His opposition to Turkey is an offensive stab at possible peace between Muslims and Catholics worldwide
Noah, Ithaca, NY, USA
While I did not expect a Nigerian to be named to the post, I at least wished that there would be more discussion before such a staunch conservative was chosen. His opposition to Turkey is an offensive stab at possible peace between Muslims and Catholics worldwide.
Noah, Ithaca, NY, USA

If Benedict XVI is against homosexuality and abortion, he has to be a good man and the right person to be Pope.
Richard Roberts, Palmdale Ca, USA

I worry his conservatism and lack of tact will cause more problems for the Church. I think he was chosen for his administrative talents, not his diplomacy.
BR, Las Cruces, New Mexico, USA

I wish people would stop placing the blame for the African AIDS crisis on the Pope. African men themselves have decided they don't want to use condoms in many cases because they don't like the feel. They are actually fairly widely distributed and go unused in areas where the Pope has no influence anyway.
Chip Sviokla, New York USA

The fact that an intellectual, pragmatic and conservative leader has been chosen by the college of Cardinals tells us that the next era of the Church will be led by the rational mind driven by conservative values.
Jaime O, Mexico City

The Church is playing it safe
Eileen, Los Angeles, USA
The Church is playing it safe wanting to ensure the continuity of Pope John Paul II's conservative agenda. As an American Catholic I'm disappointed that we could not elect a Pope of color that would better serve the underprivileged of the world with a more liberal theology on birth control and the ordination of women in the Church.
Eileen, Los Angeles, USA

I am so excited! As a young Catholic with a family, I think he will continue the clear views of the Church. In the US there are so many issues with the other Christian churches and are breaking apart - clearly because they are breaking from the teaching of God - I don't care if we are 1 billion or 20 million - it is the clear message of the holy spirit through Benedict XVI that is important. Our societies are falling apart - Devoice/ issues of life / issues of family - He will continue the clear message in a dark world
Jim Graham, Peterborough, NH USA

I blame the Da Vinci Code. Only that book could cause such backlash in the Vatican, that an Opus Dei founder with a Nazi background could be elected Pope.
Christine O'Donnell, Gilbert, USA

As a single never-married parent I don't feel welcome in the Church that I have been a part of for thirty five years. I was hoping that a new Pope might change that - no such luck.
Lynn, Niagara Falls Canada

Liberal Europeans want to tell God how to run His Church to best serve man
Jackie, Memphis, USA
Typical reaction in this forum from liberal Europeans. They want to tell God how to run His Church to best serve man. They've got it all wrong. The purpose of the Church is to show man how to serve God. I am certain that Pope Benedict XVI was the right choice for this.
Jackie, Memphis, USA

It's ludicrous and insane to see that people use simple political terminologies to describe a Pope. He's not a politician. The Church has to follow God's teaching. It's not a political party trying to win over followers. With the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit, Pope Benedict XVI will make whatever choices that are needed to take forward the Roman Catholic church.
Pio Sebastiampillai, Toronto, Canada

God always answers prayers, just not always as we would wish Him to. Let us trust that He sees something we do not in Pope Benedict XVI.
Ken, Rochester, NY, USA

I am not a Catholic but I respect the Church's decision. Most people expect the Church to cater to their modern ideas of right and wrong. Just because their ideas are popular and progressive does not make them morally in line with Church doctrine. There are a lot of complaints that the Church is too political, but in not giving in to popular liberal thinking, the Church is maintaining its identity as a spiritual institution and not a political one.
Anthony, NY

With a less strong Pope, the Church might have given in to the temptation of adapting to the world's wishes
Hiram Cervera, Mexico
The figure of Pope Benedict XVI as one of the most orthodox cardinals is reassuring. With a less strong Pope, the Church might have given in to the temptation of adapting to the world's wishes, which are not necessarily those of God. Strong morals are not popular in the world, but strong should Catholic morals remain. Many people want to hear the Church say that their sinful behaviour is now acceptable. They want the Church to change, instead of changing themselves. May the Lord be on his side, to send the light of God to the people through the Church.
Hiram Cervera, Mexico

I truly believe this was an excellent selection. Pope Benedict XVI will perpetuate the moral truths of the traditional Church. This truth will bring more people to Christianity.
Gabrie Urioste, Albuquerque, USA

I am encouraged that the cardinals could reach a consensus so quickly; however, I am unclear if the conservative beliefs of the new Pope are a help or a hindrance to the Church moving forward. Pope John Paul II had the ability to reach out to the masses, yet he was not embraced by a majority from the West. Conservativism is not likely to sit well with an American congregation suffering with pastoral scandals and a denial of the need for change. My sincere hope is for a conservative approach to bringing the Church back to what is was intended to be - the universal Church and a communion of all people.
John, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA!

Another good reason to stay away from Mass on Sundays but then again what were we hoping for, that a School of Cardinals with an average age of 70+ would actually admit that they are not only out of step with the world, but that much of their doctrine on human matters is made up by humans?
Ron , Washington, DC

It is interesting to see respondents from around the world divided between liberal and conservative, much like the US. I wonder if the Pope will bridge the divide much the same way GW has. The immediate future is not looking bright.
Jamie, USA

This is the 21st Century, the pontiff has no power
Jo Andolini, Des Moines, IA, United States
Perhaps this new Pope will consider auctioning off the hundreds of millions of euros worth of decoration and regalia in the Vatican and using the proceeds to help the starving kids of the world? But that's not going to happen is it? The whole thing is a joke. This is the 21st Century, the pontiff has no power. When they elect a female, gay, black, disabled, veteran Pope, I may show some further interest.
Jo Andolini, Des Moines, IA, United States

Wonderful! He is steadfast in the Church teaching. People that are unhappy and want a progressive, need to remember that God and the Church are not meant to bend to man's will and desires. We are to discipline ourselves to follow Church teaching.
Clay, Salt Lake City, UT, USA

It's disappointing to see a Vatican insider get the top seat. A Third World leader would have a greater impact.
John, Chicago, US

I was hoping the cardinals would elect a Pope that would maintain the traditions and theological view of the Catholic Church. People do not realize that we all have the freedom to choose our faith, and that if the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church are not reflective of your views, why remain a Catholic? It is not the Church's responsibility to change and accommodate the masses. It is our responsibility to follow the teachings of the faith of our choice. God Bless Pope Benedict XVI
Nando, Buenos Aires, Argentina

I am very disappointed in the choice of Cardinal Ratzinger as the new pope. I fear that the Church will continue to decline under his leadership, unwilling to face the very serious problems facing us as a community of God.
Martha E Fay, Boston, MA USA

Pope Benedict is clearly of firm conviction- a trait I admire
Matt, Washington, DC USA
I am apprehensive about the selection. Pope Benedict is clearly of firm conviction- a trait I admire. But he may be too conservative to lead effectively. I see him as a "transitional" pope given his age. Perhaps the cardinals believed that the Church needed stability after the incredible service of John Paul II. The pope who follows Benedict XVI will be a much more telling choice as to which way(s) the cardinals wish the Church to go in the modern world.
Matt, Washington, DC USA

I think this is the correct direction for the Church and hope he can reconcile the divisions in direction that the Church and organised religion face worldwide.
Sean, Toronto, Canada

I'm not Catholic, but John Paul II was a very charming and intelligent man who showed us the power of words and tolerance. Some people said he was too conservative, but I think he never tried to push anyone to support his ideas. So this new Pope has a lot of work to do to become someone unforgettable.
Germania Osorio, Santiago, Chile

An opportunity has been lost to show the world that Christianity is not just a Western religion
Jeff Talbert, Chicago, United States
How sad that the Catholic Church is so disrespectful of their core constituency in Latin America and Africa. An opportunity has been lost to show the world that Christianity is not just a Western religion any more.
Jeff Talbert, Chicago, United States

I was a lapsed Catholic who returned to the Church about twenty years ago. Although this Pope is ultra conservative I do not feel his election will do much damage to the Catholic Church. Most educated Catholics blend modernization with their religion. We just don't discuss it with the clergy. I know in my heart what is right and wrong and for that I thank the Catholic Church. Because of my religion I have a conscience which means more to me than right vs left.
Xiomara Ebanks, Tampa, FL USA

Doesn't the fact that the Pope once served in the Hitler Youth concern anyone at all?
Zack, Hartford, Connecticut, USA

What did you people expect? All these people complaining how they wish there was someone less conservative to take the Church in a new direction amaze me. That's not what a Church does! They don't listen to polls, they don't follow public opinion, they are moved by the word of God.
Arran, Austin, TX, USA

I will trust the holy spirit's guidance
Christine Brinkman, Whitmore Lake, MI
I am happy and comforted by the speed of the election. I have expectant faith with regard to Pope Benedict XVI's leadership. He is our new leader, I will trust the Holy Spirit's guidance.
Christine Brinkman, Whitmore Lake, MI

His main work is to point us to Christ which I think he is more than capable of doing. I am elated that we have Pope Benedict XVI as the enforcer. If you are not ready for him, then maybe you should move to a more free thinking Church that has women priests etc.
Digna , Las Vegas, NV

How sad that, not only was a Caucasian, European Pope elected, but also one who is a staunch conservative, and tends to speak about angels, theories and orthodoxy rather than seeing the reality of our world. When will we have a Pope who addresses the issues that we as humanity are all facing?
Jelena, Chile

Er, are second thoughts allowed? After initial dismay, I realised that to have elected anyone else would have been a disrespectful rejection of John Paul II. This gentleman is 78 years old. Therefore, in a few years there will be another election. Then we can introduce necessary reforms without offence.
Barrie Martindale, Toronto, Canada

I think that the moderates are biding their time
Steve, Vancouver, Canada
This appears to be a compromise. The man is 78 and probably won't be around for long. The fact that it took a couple of days means that it was not unanimous. I think that the moderates are biding their time and after this outspoken man passes away, the moderates will have one less obstacle of the ancient era.
Steve, Vancouver, Canada

Even an agnostic person, such as myself, believes that this new Pope is not necessarily a bad one. The Catholic Church must stand for whatever it believes in, even if it means disappointing some people. If people don't like the direction the new Pope will take, then they can always find another place to worship.
Jeff M, Mississauga, Canada

I am very happy. The Church needs more men and women like him, clever, wise and sensitive. May God bless him.
Maritza Delgado, Lima, Peru

My only reaction is disgust. I do not see how people can call a man of intolerance a man of God. I am not sure how people believe this will be a strong papacy when it is so determined to ignore the wishes of so many of its followers.
Barb, USA

The cardinals have given themselves a few more years to think about a long-term appointment
Raul, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Not the candidate I'd have chosen myself, but certainly a safe pair of hands. His age must have counted as a strong factor. The cardinals have given themselves a few more years to think about a long-term appointment. It will be interesting to see what job Francis Arinze gets now.
Raul, Sao Paulo, Brazil

I'm disappointed. I was hoping for a Pope from outside Europe, who would make poverty his crusade. I read some of Ratzinger's writings and my impression was that he was a mean-spirited and crabbed sort of person. Perhaps he will be a strong administrator, who will respond effectively to the Vatican's pederasty and banking scandals.
Suzanne, New York, USA

It is indeed a shame that the Catholic Church will not select an individual who truly reflects the modern reality of Christianity. With the greatest growth of worshipers in the developing world, the new pope needs a vision and an understanding of the issues that affect those people - AIDS, poverty, starvation and disease. What we needed was a visionary to bring the Church into the 21st Century, not a conservative European man who will maintain the same archaic views on sex, religion and morality that have preceded him for generations.
Philippe Wiens, Winnipeg, Canada

I am no longer welcomed in the Church with this Pope. I hope to find another Church where the people rejected by the fundamentalist and reactionary can worship Christ without being spiritually crushed.
Greg Estes, Miamisburg, Ohio USA

This new Pope may turn out to be the answer to fix the depleted Catholic population in Europe
Gilbert, Port-au-Prince, Haiti
This new Pope may turn out to be the answer to fix the depleted Catholic population in Europe. In turn, this will even further solidify Catholicism throughout the Third World. Despite his past conservatism, people have a habit of changing when in positions of power. Let's pray and let God do his work with him.
Gilbert, Port-au-Prince, Haiti

It was the right decision. Truth does not mean compromise. The Church must stand firm and true to the faith against the tides of opposition.
Shaun Holmberg, Dallas, US

As an evangelical Lutheran, I am happily certain that Benedict XVI will continue to faithfully advance God's call to embrace life. I'm sadly certain that the ecumenical discussion of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone will remain at a stalemate.
Rev. Charles Schulz, Ann Arbor, MI USA

An absolutely terrible choice that takes the Church backwards instead of forwards towards greater relevance. It's a sad day for women, gays, lesbians and those fighting HIV/AIDS in Africa.
Shawn, Ottawa, Canada

They had some great candidates, like the Nigerian and the Honduran, but they didn't make the most of it. Those guys would have spread the love for the Church in the Third World, but that's probably not what the euro-centric Vatican elite wants. He's 78 and his views are outdated - what's the point?
Alex, Canada

I hope Catholics will really listen to him and be real Catholics
Florin, Rochester, USA
May God bless him and keep him. Happy they chose such a conservative Pope, hopefully even more conservative than Pope John Paul. As an Orthodox Christian, I hope Catholics will really listen to him and be real Catholics. God bless this new Pope.
Florin Sinzianu, Rochester, MN USA

Surely the Catholic Church realizes that there are fewer and fewer younger men entering the western priesthood. Continuing their views in this way, by electing a Pope such as this, will only further decreases the Church's role in educated society.
Jonny, US, ex-UK

I wish him God speed. To all those threatening to leave the Church on account of this, I say to you -leave. But be assured that the Catholic Church will live forever.
Supo Adebayo, Toronto, Canada

I've always been lapsing as a Catholic, and with this new hardliner, his views already put me off. No ordaining women, no communion for politicians who are pro-choice. A man after Bush's heart.
Sarah, Seattle, USA

I wonder why they would choose someone of such an old age. After all, the Pope is expected to do much travelling and perform many masses. How many years could he have left to do such work?
Atman, Caribbean

The Catholic Church has always resisted change so those in power could continue to rule. These never married and non-parent men will continue to dress up in their fancy religious gear and pretend they are somehow connected to God and doing his work. This Pope will ensure that they will continue to rule without concern for the poor and needy of the world.
Bob, Tucson, AZ, USA

They'll be losing even more of their flock to the evangelists
Gloria, Toronto, Canada
Proof that these Cardinals are completely out of touch with what's really going on in the world. So be it. They'll be losing even more of their flock to the evangelists.
Gloria, Toronto, Canada

As a Methodist I wish him much success. The world needs conservative leadership to balance the scales.
Tom Gray, Las Vegas, NV, USA

May Pope Benedict XVI be an effective leader within the Catholic Church. Although he is not someone I would normally have wanted, the Catholic Church needs someone who has the gusto to get things done. Maybe this world will become a better place with Joseph Ratzinger. God Bless.
Ed Shane, Gloucester Township, NJ

I am deeply disappointed in the choice of what seems to be the most conservative candidate possible. In an era where the Church has been beset by scandal and has refused to budge on its doctrinaire positions on birth control, homosexuality, celibacy of priests, and the ordination of women, the Church has missed a glorious opportunity to reach out and demonstrate its willingness to adapt to the realities of the 21st Century. It now seems likely that many long frustrated Catholics will look elsewhere to fulfil their spiritual needs. As one of these frustrated Catholics, I shall not set foot in a Catholic Church so long as this man is Pope.
Brad Brown, Winnipeg, Canada

A great and holy man
Laszlo, Ohio, USA
A great and holy man, the best and most qualified to guide the Church in difficult times. In reading many of viewer comments that bemoan that not a more progressive person was elected, Jesus Christ was crucified because he too, was not worldly enough for leaders of his day. God's holiness is not a popularity contest.
Laszlo Krompecher, Wintersville, Ohio, USA

As an American convert to Islam, and originally from a Catholic family, I met this news with apprehension. Ratzinger is known as a hardliner who does not seem to want to continue in the same ecumenical path that the last Pope did. Pope John Paul II kissed The Qur'an, I am certain Pope Benedict XVI will not be so open and forthcoming.
Marc Springer, Washington DC

I hope the new Pope is able to strengthen the social justice message the Catholic Church is known for. Especially in the Americas, where the gap between rich and poor has become too great.
Norman Iannarelli, New York, NY

Not that I believe in this type of thing, but it is interesting he took the name Benedict XVI. If you have ever heard of the prophecies of St Malachy, it could be inferred that he predicted Cardinal Ratzinger would take this name. The prophecies state that there will only be one more Pope after Benedict XVI.
Ray, Boston, USA

I am a Catholic and am extremely disappointed and worried. I really hope he will prove me wrong but sincerely doubt it.
Ro, Mexico

I expect great things from this great man.
Greg Mockeridge, Chuls Vista, CA.

I'm not sure the Holy Spirit had much to do with this decision. Ratzinger was out there, mobilizing his base from the start.
Brad Miller, Toronto, Canada

It is an amazing disaster for the Roman Church to have chosen the one candidate who will probably alienate the most people from the Church.
Wayne Horton, Los Angeles, CA

I thank God for leading the Roman Catholic Church in this rough moment. Let the holy spirit lead and guide him into this new leadership of the Roman Catholic Church. Be Blessed Pope.
Annie Gumba, New Haven USA

I think Cardinal Ratzinger, as a conservative, is a good choice. Any Church that secularises too much and preaches too much relativism soon becomes irrelevant. I am sure that Cardinal Ratzinger as Pope will prevent this from happening to the Catholic Church.
John, USA

I fear that this new pontiff will erase that progress and bitterly divide the Catholic Church
Jason Puz, Olympia, WA
The election of this Pope saddens me. The Catholic Church was heading in a positive direction in which they were more tolerant of those different from them. I fear that this new pontiff will erase that progress and bitterly divide the Catholic Church.
Jason Puz, Olympia, WA

Catholics believe that the Holy Spirit guides the selection of the Pope by the conclave. Of course politics is a human trait that plays a role in the selection. Only time will tell how our new Pope will do.
Neil Fox, Oakley, CA

It is not surprising that a college mostly composed by the conservative John Paul II should choose a conservative person to succeed him. His hostility to the acceptance of Turkey into the EU is troubling in light of the current strain running between Christians and Muslims worldwide.
Joseph Schaedler, Minneapolis, USA

The brevity of the conclave and the election of Ratzinger come as a surprise to me. In an era when so many Catholics are arguing for changes in doctrine and Church stances, this is an interesting development. By far the most conservative choice possible, Benedict XVI's papacy will be an intriguing one to say the least.
Ed, Minnesota, USA

The Church's prejudice against blacks and Latinos turns up again
Eric, New York, US
What a shame! The Church's prejudice against blacks and Latinos turns up again. God forbid a minority take control of the papacy.
Eric de la Cueva, New York, US

I was praying for Ratzinger. This ensures my conversion to the Catholic Church so I don't have to put up with the stupidity of Anglicanism. If you liberals don't like the new Pope, go to the Anglicans.
Jon, Richmond, VA USA

Well this was a truly bad move, and oh so quick! How could they have elected a cardinal whose views were more appropriate in the 1600's than in the world of today? This man can only be bad for interfaith relations, international relations, the Catholic Church and the world. The church had the opportunity to reach out in a positive, progressive way, but instead they decided to back a hardline. I am sorry this occurred, and am fearful of the ramifications.
Jon, Cary, USA

I wonder what the new Pope's opinion is regarding Turkey's future entry into the EU.
Arda, NY, USA

A developing world Pope would have been better for the Church, but apparently it wasn't ready yet.
Michael Moszczynski, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

So they pick another European, despite the fact that over half the world's Catholics are from Latin America and who has no first hand appreciation of poverty, despite the fact that many of the world's Catholics live in squalor. Seems like the Church couldn't care less what its lay people think, and the only issues that matter are abortion and gay rights. I couldn't be more disillusioned.
Matt, Denver, USA

The Lord has spoken clearly in this election
John Dey, Racine USA
I am ecstatic. I have faith that Pope Benedict XVI will defend the deposit of faith, and feed the sheep of his flock. I was favoring Cardinal Arinze, as he presided over a Mass last summer where I was. But the Lord has spoken clearly in this election.
John Dey, Racine USA

As a young Catholic woman who already struggles with the strict unyielding attitude of the Church on issues like abortion and AIDS, I am quite frankly frightened by this decision. Was the conclave's mission to alienate the Christian youth so beloved by John Paul II? Shall we go back to covering our heads and looking at the priests back while he says the Mass in Latin as well?
Nicole, Atlanta

It's about time the cardinals elected younger officials. This one is a hardliner, with no understanding of the need for birth control in a world that is overpopulated!
Josette Price, Salt Lake City, UT USA

The Church is not one man, it is many people. May god bless the new Pope with the hearts of the people.
Laura, St. Louis, US

At 78, I think the Cardinals wanted someone who would only be Pope for a short while. They have done this in the past, electing a short term Pope after a very popular and long serving Pope. Now let us just hope they have chosen wisely.
Frank, Boyertown, USA

When one reads the gospels you see a picture of Jesus who came to give new life, not doctrine and dogma. I love the Church but I'll bide my time and wait to see how this goes.
Wesley Howell, Bellevue, Washington, USA

Once again, the Third World is either forgotten or comes in last.
Carlos, Bakersfield, USA

Maybe forward thinking Catholics will finally break from the Roman Catholic Church
Jo Marsicano, USA
Maybe forward thinking Catholics will finally break from the Roman Catholic Church, and quit Maybe this election is just what progressive Catholics need to finally accept that their institution does not serve the broad interests of humanity. The election of Ratzinger will serve as a final wake up call to the fact that the Catholic Church is an oppressive male-obsessed institution that we'd all be better off without.
Jo Marsicano, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

I pray for God to guide the new Pope. The Church has survived and grown for 2,000 years and will only continue to grow. Those who feel the Church must follow modern thinking need to find a modern thinking denomination such as the Methodist or Anglican Churches.
Thomas, Miami, Florida

Somebody asked me what qualities the new Pope should have. I answered that he should be capable of dissolving institutional Catholicism - responsible for discouraging use of condoms in Africa, and are thus complicit in the spread of AIDS in that continent. I think we have our man, but he doesn't know it yet.
Wee Stevie, Toronto, Ontario

I'm surprised the conclave didn't play to the Church's strengths by opting for a Latin American or African Pope. Instead they chose a European, a region in which the Church is already in decline.
Robert, Chicago USA

Heaven help us now - the man was a Nazi soldier during WWII and headed the Inquisition office for the Vatican during the 1980s . The Church has put itself back into the dark ages with the election of this elderly man whose views will conflict with the masses he now controls.
Michael McClain, W Chester, USA

I feel so glad that finally we have a leader again, and I hope that God will remain leading us to his glory by the new Pope.
Arturo Rodriguez, Guadalajara, Mexico

Well, at least with a man of his age they have bought themselves time to think about what direction the Church should take next. No doubt a wonderful man, but this is an institution of great longevity and won't be rushed.
James, United States

If he is a man of God, he is of the truth
Scott, Kansas City, MO, USA
I am not Catholic, but am astonished to read so many comments that seem to indicate that this new Pope is too conservative. If he is a man of God, he is of the truth. The Bible is truth. It does not change because our cultures change.
Scott, Kansas City, MO, USA

It makes me ill to watch all the powerful men get together to pick who is most holy without the possibility that the person best suited to interpret the word of God might be a woman. The alienation of women in the Catholic Church is complete with this selection.
Katie, Los Angeles, CA

While Ratzinger is certainly quite a conservative figure, he certainly has a very clear stance. I do not believe he has the late John Paul II's charisma, but he will hopefully provide stability for the Church.
James, Harlan, Kentucky, USA

I have to express some disappointment. South America is the largest Catholic area, and Cardinal Claudio Hummes from Brazil would have been a great choice. The new Pope is already 78-years-old, so this will be a short term assignment.
H Rochael, USA

This appointment is a disaster for the Church. This new Pope who is an arch-conservative will do nothing to heal the divisions that were growing during the last years of John Paul II's papacy. It was time for a younger man from Latin America or Africa to lead.
Ian Fraser, Atibaia, Brazil

It's an inspired choice. As a German he will satisfy the urge to keep the Pope European, and as a strict conservative he will satisfy the majority of Roman Catholics in Africa and South America. I am glad the Church didn't pander to white liberal sentiments. The office is not intended to be PC.
Kim, Montana, USA

I am not a Catholic but strongly support the election of Joseph Ratzinger, a conservative. People have confused politics with the substance of the Church which is the Spiritual. To those who see themselves as progressive and liberal, this is an opportunity for you to revitalise your faith in the Lord you serve.
Edward, Canada

An African Pope would have been good for the image of the Church
Christopher Della NJ, USA
I was hoping for an African Pope. I am an Italian-American Catholic and I think an African Pope would have been good for the image of the Church.
Christopher Della Torre, Ridgewood, NJ, USA

Does anyone here realize his merits as a strong leader? Especially after losing a Pope who brought such a long reign, Ratzinger's election brings stability until someone like Cardinal Schoenborn can garner enough support to be elected next. So many talk about how the Church should compromise, but those same people fail to compromise themselves.
David, Los Angeles

I am very seriously considering abandoning Roman Catholicism if they keep electing these ultraconservatives as Popes. The Church should be directed by a moderate who can reach both conservative and liberal Catholics. I think I will become an Eastern Catholic, an Orthodox or an Anglican.
Waldemar Arroyo-Rojas, Mayaguez, Puerto Rico

We have a new Pope. Many have expressed dismay and concern. We must give him a chance before passing hasty judgements. Good Luck Pope Benedict XVI, you have big shoes to fill.
Kevin Fernandes, Toronto, Canada

Instead of a leap forward, we go back to the 19th Century. Maybe it's me, and our world is turning backwards and I have not yet acknowledge this.
Estela Dominguez, Buenos Aires, Argentina

I met this news with apprehension
Marc Springer, Washington DC
As an American convert to Islam, and originally from a Catholic family, I met this news with apprehension. Ratzinger is known as a hardliner who does not seem to want to continue in the same ecumenical path that the last Pope did. Pope John Paul II kissed The Qur'an, I am certain Pope Benedict XVI will not be so open and forthcoming.
Marc Springer, Washington DC

I am atheist, but I am disappointed. The Catholic Church needs to leave Europe, and show it is really a universal church. If the papa went Latin-American or African, it would show for the world which is the great papa of the Catholic Church.
Gil Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil

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

It's excellent news. Catholics are sure that we have a good pope. I was waiting for Latin American pope but if it wasn't going to be, Ratzinger is the best second option. "Long Life to Joseph Ratzinger" (Benedict XVI)
Gabriel, Caracas, Venezuela

I think this is the best choice the cardinals could have made for us, freethinkers and democracy supporters. By choosing the most conservative candidate, the Catholic Church continues along the line of either disappearing from the cultural scene of the Modern times, or becoming again, the backbone of Middle age type dictatorships, to force fundamentalism and lack of respect for Human Rights. I am personally happy to see them finally show their real face!
Hugo Estrella, Cordoba, Argentina

The Nigerian should be pope! I think they got it wrong!
Richie Hailey, Kingston, Jamaica

In Brazil, where the Catholic Church has been loosing ground at a quick pace to other creeds, the very conservative Ratzinger does not seem like the best choice.
Ivan C, Sao Paulo, Brazil

John Paul II's legacy is safe
Jose Francisco, Lima, Peru
Fantastic. John Paul II's legacy is safe and will continue guiding the Church of Christ.
Jose Francisco, Lima, Peru

"Returning the Church to Europe" will only alienate those in poor countries which the church so desperately needs. The election of a non-white pope would have sent a clear message to the world that the Catholic church does not take into consideration race, much less country.
Miguel Conteze, Mexico City, Mexico

I feel so glad that finally we have a leader again, and I hope that God will remain leading us to his glory by the new Pope
Arturo Rodriguez, Guadalajara, Mexico

He will only last a while but I don't know if with this election the Church is heading the right way.
Maria, Santiago de Chile

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