It’s been ~eight years that would fill a lifetime. Where were you when it started?

The legacy of Benedict XVI will grow out of his episcopal appointments and the resignations he accepted with all speed. From his incredibly deep but eminently accessible encyclicals that helped us understand that God is love, and He saves us in hope. In the great liturgical revolution that will take place quietly and unstoppably because of Summorum Pontificum and Sacramentum Caritatis. From his Jesus of Nazareth trilogy and the impact it has had on Biblical scholarship. From his tireless efforts at reconciliation with the SSPX, his invitation to Anglicans to come home in Anglicanorum Coetibus, and his dialogue with Islam. From his reorganizing of the curia in some very intriguing and telling ways.

Many things he has done in his seemingly short eight years would be counted a lifetime of achievement for most mortals. Joseph Ratzinger is not most mortals. He has been a force of nature in the papacy, which is good because he followed another force of nature. No one but God knows who will face the daunting task of following Blessed John Paul II (who may well be a doctor of the Church one day) and Benedict XVI (who may well be a doctor of the Church one day), but that man will have both enormous shoes to fill, and a much better led, more enthused, and, I believe, more unified global Church to lead.

But take a moment and look back at how it all started:

This was especially poignant, I believe, being a German broadcast. You can hear them gasp when they hear the German last name come through the thick Italian accent.

I still tear up and smile when watching that. “Annutio vobis gaudium magnum. HABEMUS PAPAM…” “I announce to you a great joy. We have a pope…”

This clip includes everything from that moment except the Camarlengo’s announcement—the white smoke, the crowd going wild, the bell ringing, and then the newly vested Pope Benedict XVI coming out onto the balcony and addressing his flock for the first time:

We’ll hear those words again in the next couple of weeks, and we will have the opportunity to meet our new shepherd.

Nuns in St. Peter Square

Won’t be long now and thousands of women religious will throng St. Peter’s Square once again to greet the new pope.


Categories:Pope Benedict

  • Christine Puliselic

    Was worshipping at a small Catholic Church in Winston Salem, NC and a very irreverent priest was speaking about a new shepherd and stated he hoped it wouldn’t be a German shepherd. He offended a lot of people who left and went to another church. For a Franciscan, he was full of pride.

  • Kathi

    I remember my friend telling her first grade religious ed class that the cardinals were all flying in from all over the world to elect the new pope and that they would be wearing red. They kept looking at her funny and she finally realized that they thought she was talking about the red birds.

  • Lisa Wheeler

    We started the first full-service Catholic PR and communications on the eve of John Paul II’s pontificate and the dawn of Pope Benedict’s, and now 8 years later, that mission ironically has come to an end just weeks ago itself and a new mission for the Church has emerged on the eve of this pontificate and the dawn of this new moment in pontifical history. I was atop the collonade’s in St. Peter’s Square at Benedict’s installation Mass. I think back in joy, and look forward in hope!

  • Michael Lavigne

    I was enjoying the company of my newborn son (born hours before the Pope’s election) and my wife! Will never forget the images on the television of the white smoke. Thank you Pope Benedict XVI!!!

  • Deacon Joseph

    I had been watching the news all month in April 2005; I had also had the idea of the priesthood in the back of my mind for ten about ten years since my confirmation. The day he was elected, I was working at a grocery store and my last fifteen minute break of the day coincided with the announcement. I was not going to leave until I knew who the next pope would be. (I was a bit of a news junkie.)

    That night I finally sent my first e-mail into the vocations office. It wasn’t because I knew at all who Ratzinger was – I had only heard things in the press, which weren’t glowing reports from the secular age – but it was because that was the Lord’s definitive moment of calling for me.

    I am a proud member of the JPII generation and a “JPII vocation”, but I will ALWAYS be a BXVI man!

  • Antonio A. Badilla

    I was in class when it happened and I was told to turn on the T.V. set. I did and several teachers came into my classroom to watch the unfolding events with all of my students. As soon as I heard the word “Joseph” I knew who had been elected and I was filled with nothing but joy.



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