The 2005 Conclave – before and after

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Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI

I remember exactly where I was on the evening of Tuesday April 19 2005.  I was in Parow, in a Pick ‘n Pay grocery store, near the frozen meat aisle, and got a call from my mother.  I was absolutely thrilled.  The cardinal I had been inspired by for several years, and respected tremendously, and whom I hoped would be pope (with Cardinal Arinze as my 2nd choice), Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, was His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI.

His Eminence Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger had given the sermon for Pope John Paul II’s funeral on 8 April 2005.  He said: “Follow me.” The Risen Lord says these words to Peter.

Later, on 18 April, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger gave the sermon for the Mass for the Election of the Roman Pontiff.  He said: At this moment of great responsibility, let us listen with special attention to what the Lord says to us in his own words.

The cardinals entered the Sistine Chapel, singing the Litany of the Saints.  Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger is visible at 6:55 and 8:37:

And out he came, Pope Benedict XVI: He said:  The fact that the Lord knows how to work and to act even with insufficient instruments comforts me, and above all I entrust myself to your prayers.  The next day: I consider it a special grace which my Venerable Predecessor, John Paul II, has obtained for me. I seem to feel his strong hand clasping mine; I seem to see his smiling eyes and hear his words, at this moment addressed specifically to me, “Do not be afraid!”

And now he’s almost gone. “Do not be afraid!” I am trying.

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