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Rome Reports

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Benedict XVI’s conclave. Why the cardinals elected him Pope so quickly

The conclave that elected Benedict XVI was the second fastest in modern times, after that of Pius XII.

In only 19 hours and four rounds of voting, Card. Joseph Ratzinger became Pope.

In the evening of April 19, at 4:50 p.m., Rome time, the white smoke coming out of the Sistine Chapel announced the election.

“Habemus Papam.”

The new Pope introduced himself to the world like this.

“…a simple and humble laborer in the Lord’s vineyard.”

Benedict XVI’s biographer
“The speed of the conclave shows that the voters had clear ideas. FLASH They thought it was urgent to respond to the crisis of the Western world. In other words, to address the crisis of Catholicism from a Western perspective. For that they needed an expert on the West, and Card. Ratzinger, with his reflections on the relationship between Europe and Christianity, and between reason and faith, was the person best suited for this task.”

Roberto Regoli is the author of “The Pontificate of Benedict XVI,” one of the most interesting analyses of this Pope’s work.

As a matter of fact, the new Pope tried to build unity among the different currents within the Church while also giving the Church the intellectual foundations necessary to face the challenges of the 21st century.

He proposed a profound reflection on the life of Jesus so as to not base the faith on mere impressions, but on solid foundations. He demonstrated the power of intellectual rigor against relativism and the initial consequences of fake news.

Benedict XVI’s biographer
“Benedict XVI set in motion processes to respond to that crisis. First, by clarifying the intellectual categories needed to respond to the crisis, and by re-proposing a path for Christianity that doesn’t leave reason aside.”

And that’s how Benedict XVI’s pontificate began. An intellectual Pope who surprised parliaments and international institutions with his speeches, who left behind a wealth of written teachings.

A timid Pope, perhaps a little misunderstood by a society accustomed to grand gestures and clamorous declarations.

Javier Martínez-Brocal