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The papal conclave

Habemus Papam:

Joseph Ratzinger greets the faithful from the balcony above St. Peter’s Square as the newly elected Pope.

Joseph Ratzinger becomes Pope Benedict XVI:

On April 19, 2005, the cardinals assembled in conclave elected the then-Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to be the successor of Pope John Paul II. Shortly afterwards, Benedict XVI stepped out onto the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica, addressed his first words to the cheering crowd of the faithful, and gave his first blessing as supreme pontiff.

As dean of the College of Cardinals, Joseph Ratzinger presided over the celebration of the Eucharist before the start of the papal conclave on April 18, 2005. In his homily he warned of a “dictatorship of relativism”.

The cardinals file into the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican to elect the new pope on April 18, 2005.

After the decades-long pontificate of Pope John Paul II, many Vatican observers were expecting a lengthy conclave, but that was not to be.

On April 19, 2005, white smoke rose above the Vatican. The cardinals had elected John Paul II’s successor after a surprisingly brief conclave.

The newly elected successor to the Apostle Peter took the name Benedict XVI.

A real sensation:

Coverage of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger’s election as Pope was accompanied by large, front-page photos in the Germany daily newspapers on April 20th, 2005.

Inauguration of Pope Benedict XVI on April 24, 2005 in St. Peter’s Square in Rome.

Riding through St. Peter’s Square after the Papal Inauguration. The new Pope is enthusiastically celebrated by the faithful.