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Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, 78, of Germany Elected as New Pope

By: Vatican City Associated Press
By: Vatican City Associated Press

The new pope is calling himself a simple, humble worker for the Lord, and says he is putting himself in the hands of the world's prayers.

German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger has made his first appearance as Pope Benedict the Sixteenth.

Crowds of pilgirms have filled St. Peter's square, erupting into applause at the sight of the new Catholic leader.

Ratzinger is already well-known to many Vatican watchers. He served as the dean of the College of Cardinals and was a close adviser to Pope John Paul the Second.

He is the first German pope in centuries.

Minutes after his first appearance as Pope Benedict the Sixteenth, he blessed the crowd, smiling and waving.

Earlier, chiming bells and smoke from a chimney atop the Sistine Chapel were signaling that cardinals had picked a successor to John Paul.

At first, it wasn't clear if the smoke coming from the chimney was white, signaling a new pope, or black for an inconclusive vote, but the joyous ringing of church bells sent pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square into a frenzy of cheers.


They chanted “Viva il Papa!” or “Long live the pope!”

Cardinals reached the decision in the first full day of the first conclave of the new millennium. Votes Monday and Tuesday morning failed to reach a consensus.

The new pope is the church's 265th. Thousands of people have gathered to see the pope publicly identified.

Click here for extended coverage about Joseph Ratzinger.


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