Pope Benedict Installed Before Thousands

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

VATICAN CITY -- For many, it was simple pride. For others, it was bittersweet.

The Vatican says some 350,000 people jammed St. Peter's Square to watch Pope Benedict's formal installation. Local authorities said tens of thousands more watched on giant screens set up nearby.

Thousands of Germans said they were thrilled and proud to see one of their own assume the papacy. One man from Bavaria said Benedict is "the right man for the church" and will carry on John Paul's legacy.

But many of the Poles there were still mourning John Paul's death -- though some said they were happy with the thought of him in heaven.

The crowd scrambled to get a look at Benedict when he toured the square in an open-topped "popemobile" -- one without the bulletproof glass that made his predecessor's vehicle so unique.

Pope Benedict has made it clear he will listen along with the church to God's will as he begins his papacy. He made a special effort in today's installation Mass homily to reach out to other Christians, Jews and "all of the men and women of today."

The new pope was the enforcer of church theology during the reign of Pope John Paul. But he says his "program for governance" won't entail doing his own will or following his own ideas -- but instead listening together with the church.

The pope also says he instead is taking on an "enormous task, which truly exceeds all human capacity."

Benedict drew on the words of his predecessor, who in his inaugural homily in 1978 said: "Do not be afraid!" The mentioning of John Paul drew cheers during the homily.

Pope Benedict says his predecessor is "among his own." Benedict says John Paul is "at home" among the saints in heaven -- but he stopped short of calling for the former pontiff to be made a saint.

There were popular calls after John Paul's death for canonization to come quickly. There is normally a five-year waiting period after one's death for the process to begin.

Benedict said during his installation homily that John Paul's arrival in heaven "was awaited."


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