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Tuesday, April 19, 2005

New Pope Elected: Benedict the XVI

Updated 04/27/05

Benedict XVI Coat of Arms
Picture of new coat of arms

FRANKFURT, Germany -- Pope Benedict XVI has included traditional Bavarian elements and a nod to St. Augustine in his papal coat of arms, the diocese of Munich and Friesing said Monday.

A crowned Ethiopian, a bear and a mussel -- all of which appear on the insignia of the diocese -- also appear in the three-sectored insignia chosen by Benedict.

The bear, which is saddled with heavy packs, symbolizes the weight of the papal office, the diocese said in a statement.

It has its origins in a Bavarian legend concerning the diocese's patron, Korbinian, who encountered the animal while on a trip to Rome. The bear ate Korbinian's mule, and God saddled it with the mule's packs.

The mussel dates back to a parable by St. Augustine -- about whose works the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger wrote his final thesis -- and symbolizes "diving into the groundless sea of God," the diocese said.

At an audience in Rome with German pilgrims Monday, Benedict shook hands and kissed children, telling them "my roots are in Bavaria and I'm still Bavarian as bishop of Rome."

Ratzinger served as archbishop of Munich before being summoned to Rome in 1981 to become the Vatican's doctrinal watchdog.

***Updated 04/23/05***

His Papal name

The choice of the name Benedict (Latin "the blessed") is significant. The new pope's birthday is on 16 April and that day is the feast of Saint Benedict Joseph Labre (26 March 174816 April 1783), also known as the Holy Pilgrim. In addition, the previous Pope Benedict XV (1914 to 1922) was seen as a conciliator who calmed the disputes between modernist and traditionalist factions with the Church, and the adoption of the name Benedict has been seen as a sign that Benedict XVI has similar goals. Additionally, Der Spiegel reports on an interview with Cardinal Meisner, usually regarded as close to Ratzinger, stating that he chose Benedict because of Benedict XV who "did much for peace in the world".[5] (

Theology professor Susan Roll of the University of Ottawa speculates in the Globe and Mail, however, that the new Pope's name may be taken from St. Benedict, who founded the Benedictine Order and is credited by Catholics for preserving Christian civilization during the Great migration in the Early Middle Ages. St. Benedict is also one of the patron saints of Europe. Ratzinger has always been concerned that Europe should do its utmost not to lose its Christian heritage. Some have speculated that the choice of the name of Europe's patron signals an intention to reclaim Europe for Christ.

However, John Allen, the new pope's biographer and a longtime Vatican observer, told CNN on April 20, 2005, that the choice of name also appears to be a purposeful allusion to the fact that the previous holder of the name Benedict was shortlived in office. Ratzinger's brother has stated that he hoped that his aged sibling would not be elected to the papacy due to the pressures of the office and the fact that in 1991, Cardinal Ratzinger suffered a brain hemorrhage. "At age 78 it's not good to take on such a job which challenges the entire person and the physical and mental existence," Georg Ratzinger, then 81 years of age, said in an article published in the Guardian on April 20, 2005. "At an age when you approach 80 it's no longer guaranteed that one is able to work and get up the next day." Given this history, John Allen noted that the pope likely has "a very keen sense that this may not be a very long pontificate and there's an awful lot to do."

Allen's observation is further corroborated by Ratzinger's comments to cardinals just after his election, explaining his name. Chicago's Cardinal Francis George said that Ratzinger told the cardinals, "I too hope in this short reign to be a man of peace."

Some view the pope's choice of name as a fulfillment of the Prophecy of the Popes of St. Malachy.


Ratzinger Papal Coat of Arms
Pope Benedict XVI Bear Symbol

Ratzinger Old Coat of Arms

VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict can keep his old coat of arms if he wants - as Pope, he can do whatever he pleases. But some less-than-amused heraldry experts hope he adopts a new one.

They say his current coat of arms, designed when he was archbishop of Munich and Freising, in Germany, is not dignified.

It features two bears with packs on their backs.

All bishops have coats of arms and usually they reflect his special interests. Some elements are traditional, like the red broad beamed hat which goes on top of the coat of arms as a symbol of a bishop's office.

There almost always is a cross - Ratzinger's is jewel-studded. And red cords down each side, and in the middle, usually, a shield of some sort. The one Ratzinger adopted is divided into four sections.

That's where the bears are, on the shield.

An aide to Ratzinger said yesterday he did not know why the bears were featured on the coat of arms.

"Maybe they mean something in Bavaria," he said, referring to the German state, where Munich is located. "Maybe he justs likes bears."

Vatican experts in these things said that they expect Benedict to adopt a new coat of arms, reflecting his new standing.


Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany was on Tuesday elected the Pope.

Cardinal Jorge Medina Estevez of Chile announced the name of the 265th pope, who will be known as Benedict the XVI.

Ratzinger appeared on the balcony of the Vatican palace to greet the public.

The Pope was elected on the second day of the conclave, in which 115 cardinals took part.

White smoke billowed from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel to indicate that a new Pope has been elected.

The ringing of the bell accompanied the announcement.

A German has been elected a Pope after almost a century.

Ratzinger was chosen on the fourth ballot held by the 115 cardinals meeting to select a successor to Pope John Paul II.

Addressing the faithfuls after being elected the Pope, Ratzinger said, "Dear brothers and sisters, after the great Pope John Paul II, the cardinals have elected me, a simple, humble worker in the vineyard of the Lord. The fact that the Lord can work and act even with insufficient means consoles me, and above all I entrust myself to your prayers."

Ratzinger, born on April 16, 1927, was ordained on June 29, 1951. He is known as 'the Pope's enforcer' due to his uncompromising conservatism and he is expected to advocate the policies of John Paul II, who died on April 2.

He has been associated with the Vatican for 20 years. Ratzinger was one of the few members of John Paul II's inner circle.

Ratzinger was head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the church's chief think-tank that has dominated discussions on sexual morality and birth control and prevented liberals from gaining ground.

New Popes first Blessing

Dear brothers and sisters,

after our great Pope, John Paul II, the Cardinals have elected me, a simple, humble worker in God's vineyard.

I am consoled by the fact that the Lord knows how to work and how to act, even with insufficient tools, and I especially trust in your prayers.

In the joy of the resurrected Lord, trustful of his permanent help, we go ahead, sure that God will help. And Mary, his most beloved Mother, stands on our side. Thank you.

Biographical Notes on Ratzinger
The Holy See

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith , President of the Pontifical Biblical Commission and International Theological Commission, Dean of the College of Cardinals, was born on 16 April 1927 in Marktl am Inn, Germany. He was ordained a priest on 29 June 1951.

His father, a police officer, came from a traditional family of farmers from Lower Baviera. He spent his adolescent years in Traunstein, and was called into the auxiliary anti-aircraft service in the last months of World War II. From 1946 to 1951, the year in which he was ordained a priest and began to teach, he studied philosophy and theology at the University of Munich and at the higher school in Freising. In 1953 he obtained a doctorate in theology with a thesis entitled: "The People and House of God in St. Augustine’s doctrine of the Church". Four years later, he qualified as a university teacher. He then taught dogma and fundamental theology at the higher school of philosophy and theology of Freising, then in Bonn from 1959 to 1969, Münster from 1963 to 1966, Tubinga from 1966 to 1969. From 1969, he was a professor of dogmatic theology and of the history of dogma at the University of Regensburg and Vice President of the same university.

Already in 1962 he was well known when, at the age of 35, he became a consultor at Vatican Council II, of the Archbishop of Cologne, Cardinal Joseph Frings. Among his numerous publications, a particular post belongs to the ‘Introduction to Christianity’, a collection of university lessons on the profession of apostolic faith, published in 1968; Dogma and revelation, an anthology of essays, sermons and reflections dedicated to the pastoral ministry, published in 1973.

In March 1977, Paul VI elected him Archbishop of Munich and Freising and on 28 May 1977 he was consecrated, the first diocesan priest after 80 years to take over the pastoral ministry of this large Bavarian diocese.

Created and proclaimed Cardinal by Paul VI in the consistory of 27 June 1977, of the Titles of the Suburbicarian Church of Velletri-Segni (5 April 1993) and Suburbicarian Church of Ostia (30 November 2002).

On 25 November 1981 he was nominated by John Paul II Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; President of the Biblical Commission and of the Pontifical International Theological Commission.

Relator of the 5th General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (1980).

President Delegate to the 6th Synodal Assembly (1983).

Elected Vice Dean of the College of Cardinals, 6 November 1998. On 30 November 2002, the Holy Father approved the election, by the order of cardinal bishops, as Dean of the College of Cardinals.

President of the Commission for the Preparation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and after 6 years of work (1986-92) he presented the New Catechism to the Holy Father.

Laurea honoris causa in jurisprudence from the Libera Università Maria Santissima Assunta, 10 November 1999.

Honorary member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, 13 November 2000.

Curial Membership:

Secretariat of State (second section)

Oriental Churches, Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, Bishops, Evangelization of Peoples, Catholic Education (congregations)

Christian Unity (council)

Latin America, Ecclesia Dei (commissions)

What I do is kick them in the pants with a diamond buckled shoe!
~~Aileen Mehle~~

2 Broken Heels:

Admin said...

Hi Tinker,
Once again great information about the New Pope, I just have to get use to the name! What do you think about the name? bye from Holly

My Shoes said...

thanks holly. it is kind of a hard sounding name...benedict...we will get used to it, i guess!