Readers from across the Middle East 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:
From BBCArabic.com:The appointment of a new Pope won't change anything. The Pope doesn't have enough power to implement his views. Jean Paul II, who opposed the war, couldn't do anything to prevent it. George Bush didn't listen to him, despite him being an ultra-conservative. As for his condemnation of abortion and homosexuality, I totally agree with him. My only disagreement with him is his stance on birth control.
Ahmed Humaidi, Leipzig, Germany
From BBCArabic.com:The new Pope's determination in unifying the Church will entail more attention to developing countries, especially in Africa. It's a continent that has become a fertile ground for proselytes from different religions. Also his views on burning issues such as contraception and HIV should be aired more clearly. These views will be met with fierce opposition by liberals and modernists. The Church will then find a supportive platform from poverty stricken countries.
Deen Kuri, Sudan
From BBCArabic.com:I think that in this time and age, we need people like Pope Benedict to prevent vices from engulfing the whole world under the guise of globalisation and modernity. May God guide his path. We also want him to build bridges between all religions and advocate religious tolerance, for none of us has chosen our own religion. We only embrace the faiths we were raised to believe in.
Hussein Khalil, Lebanese in Kuwait
From BBCArabic.com:I am really surprised at Pope Benedict XVI's opposition to the ordination of women priests. What are womens' rights associations doing about this? Mother Theresa proved that women are very much capable of occupying the high religious functions.
From BBCArabic.com: The new Pope is gifted with many talents and we pray he will use them wisely.
Paul Pole Baker, Farnborough, UK
This will take the Catholic Church backwards. What a blow to the liberals in the US and Europe. What a snub to the Latin Americans. I predict that this Pope will alienate the intellectuals and the human right activists and will turn the Church into the house of dogma.
Tiko Oleksyk, Frederick, MD, USA
If it was not the Lord's will, Joseph Ratzinger would not be named Pope. He has my prayers, as well as prayers from over a billion others, and I know he will follow what God has for him. I am very pleased and I trust he will be great.
Brent, Corvallis, OR
An intelligent man certainly. But a step backwards for the world. A defender of the faith that cannot possibly be of any help towards inter-religious dialogue. At 78 he may be just a transitional pope. But look what John XXIII did - and was 77 when elected.
George Ellis, Roma, Italy
I'm very disappointed. The appointment of Cardinal Ratzinger shows that the Roman Catholic Church is prepared to give no ground on any issue on which it sees itself to be right. This is certainly not a choice that will promote tolerance within the Church or towards other faiths. Surely even the cardinals can see that their religion is not adapting to the world, and now is openly refusing to do so by choosing such a conservative pope. I think it can only mean more troubled times ahead.
God bless the Holy Father. Whilst you
I quite welcome the election of the new pope, hope he is able to continue the good work Pope John Paul II started in the vineyard of the lord.
Jobby, Dubai, UAE
It seems the Conclave has made a very poor decision on two counts. First, by electing a man who is considered very conservative even with in the ranks of the Church and second, by electing a European Pope at a time when most Catholics are non-European. A Pope from the Third World will compromise more easily where dogma and reality collide. This is another example of why the Vatican is an archaic institutional thing of the past.
I believe that despite his conservative stance, the new Pope will be a good leader in these times of rapid change. He is an intellectual and not a hypocrite, and that might be more important than most would believe. May God bless his pontificate.
D Janjic, Dubai, UAE
The right man has been selected, I wish the Catholic Church will keep the centuries old structure and discipline and faith, which will be a model of all faiths with the great leadership of Pope Joseph Ratzinger.
Antony Dayalan, Muscat, Oman
Our new pope needs all our support, love and prayers, rather criticism. Let us welcome the new Pope with open heart and mind and be ready to compromise, as the western world expects the Holy Church to compromise its values.
Elias Loussi, Palestine
I am really glad! The man we wanted for the modern time. We really need someone to follow up what JP2 had been doing. He will be as steadfast as he always was, I hope.
Josekutty, TJ Muscat, Oman