Hundreds of readers from across the Asia-Pacific region 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 such a joyous time as this, it is somewhat distressing to see how the media has been focusing more on how the Pope will handle today's thorny issues such as the use of condoms, homosexuality and abortion. God has blessed us with a new Pope. The only real issue of importance is how the new Papacy can bring more souls closer to Christ.
Norman Misa, Manila, Philippines
Yet another Pope from Europe while the number of followers in that region has been diminishing. Why not a Pope from South America or Africa where there is a growing number of Catholics?
Kereyal, Kundiawa, Papua New Guinea
As a non-believer, I hope sincerely this will not be the beginning of further deterioration of the Catholic Church.
Cathie, Wuhan, China
Timewarp-tastic, welcome back to the 15th Century! The great leap backwards is really picking up speed now.
Gary Chiles, Wellington, New Zealand
Let him do what he must do under God's command.
Bonar, Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia
The new Pope is a Holy Man and a prophet. I remember talking to him five years ago in Rome, He asked me what was my occupation and I told him, I was studying to become a missionary priest, and he listened with love to my vocation story and promised me prayers for my future missionary life. I am happy that he is our new Pope. He prayed for me and now I will pray for him everyday when I celebrate the Holy Mass.
Fr. Vincent Mkhabela, Philippines
So much for the inspiration of the Holy Spirit! Pope John XXIII's work of opening up the Church continues to be subverted by the powerful conservatives within that institution. And those who claim that the truth has been upheld by the last Pope, well, read your history. The Roman Catholic Church has always changed its 'infallible' teachings to suit itself. Such is its malleable truth!
Andrew, Sydney, Australia
My heart sank. Is God punishing us or merely testing us? This is bad news for the Church in the West and Latin America where many more will turn to the evangelical American Protestants.
PM O'Donoghue, New Plymouth, New Zealand
This is indeed the work of the Holy Spirit! We need a Pope Benedict XVI who is a faithful servant of God in matters of faith and morals. His election reminds us that to be a faithful of the Church, we have to be faithful to God's teachings and not to our own likings and inclinations. Christ carried his cross. It's our turn to carry ours to support the new Pope in this new era.
Arthur Siloran, Philippines
I believe the new Pope, elected by the conclave, is chosen by God. God bless him and may he do His will by maintaining the stance on issues regarding human morality.
Philip Nguyen, Tao Yuan, Taiwan
I'm not surprised at the choice. The cardinals have elected a safe Pope. He appeals to Europeans who dread the shift of power that a Third World Pope represents, and the conservative camp within the Church who feel reassured that it's business as usual as under John Paul II. Yet he is intellectual enough to engage the so-called moderates whose clamour for change is growing louder. He's a stop gap measure to promote continuity while the evolution of the Catholic Church's future direction continues.
When I saw the 78-year-old new Pope delivering his speech, I thought that maybe it's too heavy for him to be a Pope at his age.
Donald, Hong Kong
Instead of saying "I want a more conservative or a more liberal Pope, one who is close to my ideas," it might be good to consider that, if this is the one the Holy Spirit has chosen, that counts more than my own feelings or ideas.
John Wadeson, Yona, Guam
The new Pope's task will not be easy. The Cardinals picked him as they probably wanted some form of continuity in the management of the Catholic Church. He will not be the athletic or the travelling Pope, but more of an administrative pope. We have to wait and see.
Dennis Neo, Singapore
It is hard to believe that the Catholic Church chose an extreme conservative to be the next Pope. I was hoping that Hummes or Kasper would be elected.
T. Sison, Manila, Philippines
I am admittedly a lapsed Catholic, but despite my strong opposition to some of the teachings of John Paul II, I couldn't help but have admiration for him. Unfortunately the newly elected Pope represents the old views that drove me away from my Catholic upbringing.
David, Hong Kong
His only virtue is his advanced age, giving the church a chance to sort itself out for next time around.
John B, Sydney, Australia
I'm happy as now we have our new Pope and I believe Pope Benedict XVI will be able to lead all of us for a better peaceful world.
Gregorius G Suharsono, Indonesia
Looks like the Cardinals do not want the Catholic Church to modernise by choosing such a conservative person. At 78, he's the oldest Pope ever. How will youths throughout the world relate to him?
Teokl, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
They have made a choice that at the very least lets everyone know what the Church stands for. Churches here in Australia have tried to change with the times and be pro-everything society says. They are currently in a state of collapse, having lost over half their congregations. Change how things are done but don't discard the Bible because its message is difficult for all to accept.
Michael Hughes, Sydney
In the face of a troubled world with competing ideologies, the voice of Pope Benedict XVI will resonate an unwavering adherence to the truth. He may lack the charisma of his predecessor but will nonetheless fight for what is good and beautiful.
Dong L, Manila, Philippines
The Cardinals are only the instruments of God. The new Pope has already been chosen by God.
Wendel, Cebu, Philippines
Thanks be to God for our new Pope Benedict XVI! John Paul II's great legacy will continue with Pope Benedict XVI as a very strong and faithful link in today's universal Church. We all need him as a holy shepherd to lead us in this third millennium. Long live the Pope!
Zen Udani, China
Good grief, how could the cardinals have elected someone so conservative, so intolerant of theological pluralism, so out of touch with the spirit of ecumenism?
Ravi de Alwis, Dehiwala, Sri Lanka
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
There is clear apartheid in western Roman Catholics communities. It worries me that the majority of the followers are from Latin America but the master is always from Europe.
This is no time to be negative. He is now the Pope, let the world welcome him with open arms.
Arif Shah, Karachi, Pakistan
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 am seeing Pope John Paul II in Pope Benedict XVI.
Balaji, Chennai, India
I hope he will do better job, but he should not be influenced by super powers.
M.M.Bawa, Sri Lanka
Best choice and I hope he will make world more peace and guide people to right path.
Ahsan-ul Morshed, Dhaka, Bangladesh
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