In case you've been in a cave all day, German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (78), has been chosen as the new pope under the name Benedict XVI. He is the first German to serve the office since the sixteenth century. It is a bit of irony, I suppose, that the last German pope, Andrian VI, presided just after the beginning of the Reformation schism and I believe the last German pope before that, Victor II, was the first pope elected after the Great Schism of 1054; take that for what you will. The new pontiff does not look to be too much a of friend of ecumenism, having previously criticized the Protestant churches that have established dialog with Rome. On the other hand, his orthodoxy is a good thing in many ways as opposed to electing someone who might have been inclined to lead the church in too liberal of direction.
Ratzinger has previously served as prefect of the “Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith,” better known by its old name: the Inquisition.
On a Lighter Note
And, timely enough, a theologian friend of mine passed on a little humor concerning the Cardinal turned newly elected Pontiff. The story goes that Cardinal Ratzinger dies and goes to Heaven. When he arrives there he waits with two other theologians to talk to God. The first one goes to see God, and comes back weeping. “How could I have been so wrong for so long,” he sobs. The second theologian is nervous but goes in and comes back out weeping and exclaiming “How could I have been so wrong for so long?” Then the Cardinal goes in to see God. Soon after God comes out weeping and says “How could I have been wrong for so long?”