Hundreds of readers from across Africa 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:
At a time when the world is drifting deeper into the depths of sin and moral decadence, God sent another firm hand to work in his vineyard. A better choice could not have emerged.
Ezimare Ezimokhai, Benin-city, Nigeria
Where the Pope comes from does not matter. His colour is unimportant. What counts is how he has led souls to God, brought peace to the world, united nations, and stood as a constant beacon for justice, love, truth and equality .
Udechukwu BedeMoore, Ifitedunu, Nigeria
Thank God the new Pope has been elected. I believe it was God who called him to be successor to Pope John Paul II. Welcome our new Pope Benedict XVI.
Aririerisim Kingsley, Lagos, Nigeria
I am not a Catholic but I am saddened by the stand the Catholic Church has in its dealing with HIV prevention. I understand why Pope John Paul II stressed on abstinence, he assumed the papacy in 1978 when HIV was unheard of and it made sense that permitting condom use would lead to moral decay in the church. However, times have changed and it's time the Catholic Church changed too. I am African, born and bred in Africa and it is a fact that many African Catholics in Sub-Saharan Africa simply don't use condoms because the Pope said no.
Christine, Oyugis, Kenya
Great! I thank God that the Papacy position has shifted out of Italy once again. Though it would have been more interesting seeing Cardinal Arinze emerging as the new Pope.
Awazie Sab Emmanuel, Port Harcourt Nigeria
The world made their predictions, but the Church prayed and God had made His final choice. Personally I am happy that Pope Benedict XVI is someone that is determined to maintain the teachings of the Church without allowing the influences of the World. God bless the Pope.
Christopher Agoha, Abuja, Nigeria
At last the Church has a successor to Pope John Paul II who now rests in the Lord after many fruitful years. Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI, I wish you God's guidance and protection and many more years of success in your papacy.
Nyuysuvidzem Eugine Yuver, Limbe, Cameroon
The world expected the new to come from the developing world, so what impact will this have? Is it fair that cardinals want European Popes? I strongly think that the Church in parts of the world will not welcome this.
Moses Limuwa, Lilongwe, Malawi
Praise the Lord. Having another European Pope has nothing to do with poverty anywhere in the word. People should understand this is different from a political position. God bless him and his leadership. We pray for you Pope Benedict XVI
Michael Jambanja, Harare, Zimbabwe
While so many people would be disappointed with the choice of a known conservative Catholic, let us not loose sight of the workings of the Holy spirit and appreciate the fact that the lord always has a teaching for his people with the advent of every leadership. God bless and keep Benedict XVI.
Uzoma Alec, Lagos, Nigeria
I think the princes of the RC church have chosen well - their Dean - to try and fill the shoes of the Great John Paul II
Pius, Zanzibar, Tanzania
I am totally disappointed by the speedy selection of the Pope. A 78-year-old pontiff with conservative views won't reconcile the lost generation to the Church especially at this end time. The papacy is being highly politicised.
Diala, Lagos, Nigeria
I was expecting an African Pope not a European Pope, but since is the Church's choice I have no doubt about his work as the Pope of my days.
Okoso Prosper Kenneth K, Ghana
Although I had hoped for an African Pope, Benedict XVI, is a good choice who'll maintain tradition.
Paul Ilado, Nairobi, Kenya
God bless the pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI. I hope it will help the Catholic Church grow, and I sincerely hope it will help the church move into the 21st Century. I hope he can touch just as many hearts as Pope John Paul II.
Chris, Nairobi, Kenya
I am totally disappointed in the way this thing was hurriedly done. In fact, I expected a young pontiff probably from Africa, to give this poor continent a feeling of belonging. I knew that it is a spiritual issue, but I am afraid that the world could wake up one day and hear that the new pontiff is seriously ill. We need young leader, not this old man.
Julius Njikonye, Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire
I am happy with the choice of Ratzinger as the new Pope. Traditional Catholicism should be respected and not tampered with. I think they should only compromise on one thing - contraception. With the spread of STDs and to combat overpopulation, the Vatican should review its stance.
It is a disappointment that an African Pope was not elected, as there has been a rapid growth in Catholics in Africa. I think the new Pope will have a tough time living up to the late Pope John Paul II. Nevertheless, I wish to congratulate Pope Benedict XVI and pray that God will be with him as he carries out his Papal duties.
Janathan Mick, Blantyre, Malawi
It is very difficult to fault the selection of Pope Benedict XVI; he conducted the funeral of John Paul with much candour and grace and it was almost obvious that he was the Pope to come. I pray the world will know greater glory in his reign as Pope.
Gbenga Ibileye, Senegal
The Church needs a lot of discipline and the enforcer is needed at this crucial time. This defies all suggestions that the Pope should come from a particular part of the world that is notorious for wrong-doings.
Siegfried Gbadago, Kumasi, Ghana
God bless our Pope, may he lead your Church as St Peter did.
Sylvester R, Kampala, Uganda
Those who though that gay bishops would be ordained and gay marriages approved will be disappointed. Homosexuals will have no place in the Church, certainly not in Africa.
Bright Oduro-Nimo, Accra, Ghana
The Church needed somebody like him to continue what the late Pope had began. The Church is in good hands now.
Evans, Nairobi, Kenya
Christianity is not politics. The word of the Lord is final.
Oni Oladipupo, Lagos, Nigeria
Choosing Joseph Ratzinger is God's wish. When God says yes nobody can say no.
Echeruo Ifeanyi, Imo State, Nigeria
Congratulations Pope Benedict XVI. Africans, Nigerians in particular, are disappointed with this outcome. However, the ways of man are not the ways of the Holy Spirit.
Martins Nnoduo, Lagos, Nigeria
Again, blacks have been schemed out. The Catholic Church has lost an opportunity to show the world that it is not a racist organisation.
Nwachukwu, Lagos, Nigeria
This is the beginning of the end for the Church's attempts to rid itself of Eurocentric fundamentalism and embrace the dynamic and progressive world in which its adherents live. African Catholics will continue to die from AIDS without the Church taking a progressive stance on condoms. And given the off-the-hip remarks, Ratzinger has been making very recently, obviously the bulk of the Church's present leadership is not serious about image and the growth of the Church. Who outside Western Europe can relate to this man?
Phila, Durban, South Africa
Hardliner? He simply is one who seeks to follow the clear words of our Lord.
Michael Adande, Port Harcourt, Nigeria
The smooth and peaceful process leading to the emergence of a new Pope is a clear message that leadership changes can be devoid of rancour, violence and deadly manoeuvres witnessed in many countries today.
Kayode Owojori, Ibadan, Nigeria
I am disappointed with this election because it shows the Church is not yet to stretch beyond the horizon of John Paul II. I will be surprised if Pope Benedict XVI can reach us Africans as John Paul II did.
Chigbu Uchendu, Uturu, Nigeria
Wish him the best, if he gets on with global issues, trade injustice, human rights, governance and other issues that matter. Perhaps less on what people should do with their personal lives.
George Ochieng, Kandaria, Kenya
Thank God the Church is back to life. I am happy we have a non-Italian pope again but would have been happy if he were from Latin America because that is where the Roman Catholic faith will strive on. Well I hope he brings Europe back to the Church.
Alex, Dakar-Senegal, Cameroon
Thank you lord, for giving us this simple man who will uphold the basic principles of the Catholic Church.
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
I don't know what to say as I can't tell if they have made the right choice by choosing Joseph Ratzinger. I'm very surprised that the election was that fast. Anyway, it is my prayer that the new Pope will do more than the late Pope John Paulin helping humanity and listening to the voice of the masses. I'm not the a Catholic but let me say "welcome Pope Benedict XVI".
Naa adei Dsane, Accra Ghana
May the spirit that led the late JP II be with him.
Obeng Amoako, Accra, Ghana
God knows why this man was chosen - there is a task to accomplish. May the Lord guide and fill him with the Holy Spirit to enable Pope Benedict XVI "tend his flock". May the Blessed Virgin Mary be his guidance.
John J Weah Jr, Monrovia, Liberia
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
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
May the blessing of God rest heavy on the new Pope.
Rona, Johannesburg, South Africa
Thank God we have a father now!
Ekari Mkhupela, Blantyre Malawi
I am not a catholic however but I think the cardinals have missed the point this time around. They needed a more dynamic pope for the this century.
Tseghama Angwafo, Mankon, Cameroon