Where are you?

Today is the 2nd Anniversary of the election of Pope Benedict XVI.  That was quite a day.   You might chime in to say where you were and what you were doing when you heard the news.

This is what I was doing.   The photo is terribly distorted, since it was shot by someone from a television screen and sent to me.  We look fairly happy:

Chris Wallace, Greg Burke, Fr. Z

WDTPRS participant Vincenzo found the Fox News video. Go to this web page at the Fox News site:

click here

Then scroll down – on the left side you’ll see “Papal Video.” Select “Ratzinger Elected New Pope.”

More direct link (works with Firefox, but maybe not IE).

You will even hear commentary from Fr. Z!

In the meantime, here are a few place you are right now:

Portland, Oregon
Santa Cruz De La Palma,…
Stevenage, Norfolk
Zagreb, Grad Zagreb
Millwall, Newham
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Rome, Lazio
Hilo, Hawaii
Lakewood, California
Graz, Steiermark
Anchorage, Alaska
London, Lambeth
Guildford, Bracknell Fo…
Seoul, Seoul-t’ukpyolsi
Notre Dame, Indiana
Detroit, Michigan
Forbes Park, Pasay

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. I’m at home in Pukekohe, New Zealand! And that’s where I was when the news of Benedict’s election was announced – and I couldn’t have been happier!

  2. jaykay says:

    It was about 6 pm here in Ireland when it broke, as far as I recall. Later that evening I dropped into a pub on the way home – as you do – and it was on the big screen (usually reserved only for sports!). What I plainly recall is the religion correspondent of our leading “liberal” broadsheet being interviewed and the disappointment on his face and his mealy-mouthed comments i.e. he was actually fuming that the Holy Spirit had dared to go against the received wisdom of Ireland’s “paper of record”. Sweet moment. He continues to fulminate, of course, the latest effusion being only last week. Heh Heh Heh :)

  3. Vincenzo says:

    “This is what I was doing. The photo is terribly distorted, since it was shot by someone from a television screen and sent to me. We look fairly happy:”

    I was at home watching it on TV. I often watch Fox News but I can’t remember which channel I was watching (it might have been EWTN). What is permanently etched in my mind, however, is the look on Pope Benedict XVI’s face when he emerged. He projected immense love and instantly I felt at peace, confident that we had a great man as Pope.



  4. Kevin says:

    I had been keeping vigil in front of the boob tube, coordinating my sleep with the balloting. Exhausted, I took a short nap (1 hour) nap and missed the announcement and HH B16’s speech. I still am sorely disappointed that I missed it! As soon as I awoke, however, whatever station I was watching at the time was replaying his speech. I thought I was dreaming: I mean, really, Ratzinger…as pope? I’ve wanted that since 1985 when, as a high school freshman, I devoured the Ratzinger Report (I was and am an ecclesiastical “groupie”). As much as the death of HH JP Magnus broke my heart, so much did the election of HH B16 cheer it. Viva il Papa!

  5. Carolina Publican says:

    I was having lunch, alone, at a small Mexican Restaurant here in Greensboro, NC, and stopped eating, stood up and approached the TV. All serving came to a stop, and I stood there with the waitresses, who were all very excited, and watched… Oh, it was on Univision, BTW, and I think I was the only Anglo who stopped to watch.

  6. arieh0310 says:

    I was at my office in Portland, OR and was a Protestant. Now I am a Catholic living in Steubenville, OH and have no job (going to school).

  7. Oh happy day! Following a dash to St Peter’s Square on hearing that there was smoking coming out of that chimney after what must have been the 1st afternoon ballot, I managed to secure a place just in front of the obelisk for the announcement:

    I took out a pocket telecope and focused it on the great windows of the balcony. Was there activity behind those white curtains? I couldn’t tell. There was a festive athmosphere in the Square. There wasn’t much singing (who knew what name to sing?) or conversation, but there was a lot of laughter. I found myself chuckling to myself with excitement on more than one occasion. At one stage it started to rain, but anyone unwise enough to start opening an umbrella was quickly chastised and told to stop. Everyone wanted a view. Seemingly out of nowhere materialized the Carabineri band, a detachement of the Italian military and the Swiss guards – all ready to pay their respects to the new Pontiff.
    After waiting about 20 minutes there was definite activity on the balcony. Someone emerged and released the red curtains which had been tied back either side of the great window. The crowd gasped. And then Cardinal Estevez emerged and with much sssshing the crowd fell silent.
    ‘Cari fratelli e sorelle,’ (Dear brothers and sisters) he began. The crowd began to ask why he was not speaking Latin. Then he repeated the same words in Spanish (have they elected a Latin American?), and then in German, French and English. The crowd held its breath.

    ‘Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum’
    (And one could feel a wave of Great Joy sweep through the Square)
    ‘Habemus papam’
    (Applause and rejoicing – I must confess to being on the verge of tears)
    ‘Eminentissimum ac reverendissimum’
    (Yes, yes…)
    (Nerves well and truly wracked)
    (And I cannot resist shouting ‘Ratzinger’ as Cardinal Estevez pauses for a mischievous smile)
    ‘Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae Cardinalem’
    (Get on with it!)
    (The square explodes with joy!)
    ‘Qui sibi nomen imposuit…’
    (Ssssssh! )
    ‘Benedictum XVI’
    Immediately the chant went up – ‘Benedetto! Benedetto!’
    The Senior Cardinal deacon withdrew and Vatican staff emerged to hang the traditional tapestry with the arms of the previous Pope over the balcony.

    After that they withdrew and the Cardinal electors began to appear at the balconies either side of the central one. They jostled each other for a good view and one or two began waving their birettas like schoolboys.

    And then the processional cross was brought out onto the balcony by one of the Vatican MCs followed by the man himself! Benedict the 16th – Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini. He looked overwhelmed – he gave his shy smile and began waving to the crowd. Not a natural showman like his predecessor he looked ill-at-ease, but for a second (and several people have said this to me) he looked just like John Paul II. A microphone was produced and he gave his message.

    Dear brothers and sisters, after the great Pope John Paul II, the Lord Cardinals have elected me, a simple and humble worker in the vineyard of the Lord.
    I am consoled by the fact that the Lord knows how to work and act even with insufficent instruments and I particularly entrust myself to your prayers.
    In the joy of the Risen Lord, trusting in His constant help, we move ahead. May the Lord help us and and may His Mother be at our side. Thank you.
    After that, you can be sure that I celebrated appropriately in one of my favourite restaurants.

  8. Tim Ferguson says:

    I was in Ottawa, Canada, preparing for my comprehensive exams for canon law. Mine were scheduled for the next day. One of my classmates, a rather liberal nun, had hers that afternoon. When we heard, at lunch, that there was white smoke, a group of us ran upstairs to watch. The nun was going back and forth between her suite down the hall and the TV room, alternately primping herself for comps and watching for the announcement. At one point, she said, “If it’s Ratzinger, somebody tell me, because then I won’t bother with comps, because I’m just gonna throw in the towel on this Church.” Sure enough, Cardinal Estevez made the announcement. The room was deadly silent, as everyone was afraid of what the nun’s reaction would be. Finally, I couldn’t contain myself any longer – I jumped up out of my chair with a vociferous “Whoopee!” and ran downstairs to my room to call my parents.

    The nun hasn’t thrown in the towel on the Church yet, and now claims that, while she couldn’t stand Cardinal Ratzinger, she is okay with Pope Benedict. I’ve told her that’s like parsing the Jesus of history from the Christ of faith. She’s responded, “exactly.”

    My only disappointment with the election was the fact that we had been scheduled to meet with Cardinal Ratzinger at the CDF offices during our class trip to Rome after comps. Instead, we got in on his second Wednesday audience, and had seats right up in the first row of the “VIP” section.

  9. Diane says:

    I know where I was: In the midst of the greatest conversion of my life thanks to Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict.

    Fr. Z: Sorry to deviate here, but I don’t know if my email is getting through. Please check. I’ve been sending you those reminders.

  10. John Polhamus says:

    I was getting ready to leave for San Diego State Universty. I had changed the tape in the VCR, wasn’t expecting much to happen. We knew that there would be smoke late in the day, but as it came out the announcers said it was dark. Yet it kept coming, and it began to dawn that the light was behind it and it was rather difficult to tell exactly what color it was. Then people began to gravitate to the square, first slowly, then running. I recall a girl announcer said that she thought that the smoke was light. I pulled myself away long enough to yell upstairs to my Mum “I think you’d better come down here, I think we have a Pope! Then I believe the bells of St. Peter’s began to ring out, and we all knew that the Holy Spirit had done His work, but what?

    As the Cardinal Camerlengo read out each portion of the Habemus Papam, my mother and I held hands nervously, alternately hoping and afraid of what may have been wrought upon us…and at the mention of Ratzinger we both jumped into the air yelling and came down hugging. I’ve always hoped that the neighbors thought we’d gone mad for a moment. Actually we were filled with an overflowing hope that the Catholic Church had gone quite SANE once again.

    My eyes are moist as I write this, remembering the beginning what may turn out to be the last hope for the Roman Catholic Church in the modern age. God Bless our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, may he reign for many years, with serenity, security, and the blessing of God in all that he undertakes.

  11. Jon says:

    From last year’s post…and I’m ever grateful to God that I experienced the election this way…

    I was at noon Mass at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Lancaster, PA. There’s an old fellow who daily sits in the last pew of the church. When I came in, he motioned me over, pulling me down, he gave me his prophecy with a deliberate wink, “I guarantee it. It’s gonna be Ratzinger.”

    It was a warm day, and the stained-glass windows were open. At twelve, as usual, the bells rang the hour. Then a few minutes later, just into the first reading, they began tolling again. It was then I suddenly realized they hadn’t stopped. Not only hadn’t they stopped, but they were palpably joined by other bells from around the city, tolling and rolling louder and louder.

    People began looking around at each other, all obviously thinking the same thing. The gentleman serving Mass quietly rose and went into the sacristy, which is connected to the rectory. He came out a few minutes later, grinning ear to ear. He looked directly at me as he came through the door, smiled and nodded his head. Sitting back down, he leaned over and whispered to Father.

    St. Mary’s in a beautiful old church, with a raised pulpit. When it came time for the homily, Father mounted the steps verrry slowly, and smiling broadly, said, “It seems we have a pope.”

    After Mass, everyone patted each other on the back, and said, “I wonder who it is?” I ran out to my car, and flipped on the radio. I couldn’t find the announcement at first, but finally I got a fuzzy station from Philadelphia. The reception cleared up just in time for Cardinal Medina to make the announcement. I couldn’t help myself, when I heard the name, tears ran down my cheeks. I then flipped open my phone and called my friend Henry Edwards down in Tennessee, and we whooped it up together.

  12. What great anecdotes! Keep ’em coming!

    Perhaps I’ll do my own in a PODCAzT.

  13. Magdalen Ross says:

    I went to St. Peter’s Sq. the 2nd day of the conclave. I knew there’d be nothing major the first evening, and would have been surprised if anything had happened Tuesday morning. So in the late afternoon I put on my Cardinal Ratzinger Fan Club t-shirt and hopped on the 46 bus. As we approached the stop before the tunnel everyone’s cell phone went off and people started running toward the piazza. I missed the white smoke, but got my usual spot by the south fountain so I’d have an adequate view of the balcony. One guy with a big camera saw my shirt, smiled, shot some footage, then disappeared. When Cardinal Medina Estevez said “Iosephum” I started screaming, though everyone around me was quiet and listening intently. They stared at me like I was a madwoman, but I knew it could have only been MY Iosephum. The elegant Mexican lady next to me was asking “Who is it? Who is it?” “Ratzinger!” I shrieked. Which was confirmed a few seconds later by the good Cardinal. Several news crews spotted my shirt and interviewed me (including one very cranky person from Le Monde). “How did you know it would be Ratzinger?” was everyone’s question (one German reporter asked, “Ratzinger Fan Club? Where do you have your meetings?”). I didn’t know it would be Cardinal Ratzinger, I didn’t think the Signori Cardinali would have the chutzpah, frankly. But I had been praying and hoping. It remains one of the happiest moments of my life.

  14. Victor says:

    I had spent the afternoon with a non-christian friend, and when we reasoned about who would make it, she told me she hoped it wouldn’t be Ratzinger, because “he is so conservative”. When I came home, I switched on my internet and read the news “white smoke”. Immediately I started the Vatican Television stream, just in time for Estevez Medina saying “Dominum Josephum”! There was a lot of screaming in my room…

  15. Ben says:

    I was decorating the second bedroom of our former home, getting it ready for tenants to move in. An empty room with a wooden floor gives a great acoustic for singing the Te Deum!

    I got a couple of doses of cold water in the following days. First, that evening I was at the meeting of the parish RCIA group, and oh! the long faces of the Tablet-readers! Then, the following Sunday, we had a Carmelite priest saying Mass; the theme of his homily was, ‘OUR bishop is the Bishop of Middlesbrough, not some German guy in Rome.’ Whatever happened to ‘We are an Easter people?’

    The British media coverage was also rather baffling. ‘Shock News: New Pope is a Catholic’ was the kind of headline we saw. (I exaggerate only slightly!)

    We’ll have so much to tell our grandchildren!

  16. RBrown says:

    I was getting ready to head to the tennis courts, but the delay on the smoke indicated that something might be up. So I waited.

    The announcement was stunning because I didn’t think there were the votes to elect Cardinal Ratzinger. I thought that Cardinal Bertone would be elected. Unfortunately, I was too dumb to tape the announcement.

    Which announcement, BTW, was in the genetive: qui sibi nomen imposuit Benedicti Decimi Sexti. The Osservatore Romano, however, used the accusative: Benedictum.

  17. nab says:

    I was at work at a Catholic School with the news on. A lunch date had been made with a friend and my sister, right as the bells started to chime. I waited about two minutes but I HAD to meet them for lunch. I had my sister ask my brother-in-law to call when the news came (we were not going somewhere that did tvs in the restaurant by any means). When it was announced I teared up. What a wonderful day…I was so aware of the Holy Spirit guiding the Church that day.

  18. RBrown says:

    Although someone might have immediately presumed it was Card Ratzinger when they heard the name “Iosephum”, I couldn’t make the jump. After “Iosephum” I tried to think of Cardinals with that name–the only one I came up with was Cardinal Glemp.

  19. Karen Russell says:

    I was on my computer, brousing the COL forum while having lunch, and lo! there were posts about white smoke and bells ringing!

    So I dashed downstairs to the TV, and in about 15 minutes came the glad tidings.

    My son arrived home from school a little later, not yet having heard, so I had the pleasure of telling him. He was delighted too–both because he’s a good kid, with a lot of sense, and because some of his very liberal classmates that day had been bad-mouthing Cardinal Ratzinger.

  20. Matthew says:

    Is it possible to post a YouTube or other link to the video of the great announcements?

  21. RBrown says:

    “Someone” should be “some people”.

    What followed the announcement (and delayed tennis) was as stunning as the name of the new pope. It seemed every different channel I tried had an old friend from Rome as the commentator. Then there was an interview in the Piazza with Msgr Jim Conley, an old friend from KU who was working in the Cong of Bishops. A few minutes later another old friend from KU, Bp Paul Coakley, was interviewed.

    I have told the following story to students: In 1972 3 friends and I, looking for a Benedictine monastery that had preserved Latin, first arrived at the French Abbey of Fontgombault. A few months later I left France and spent a month in Rome. During my stay I met Cardinal Wright, who asked me what I was doing in Europe. When I told him about Fontgombault, his reply was “Fontainebleau?” Three or four times during our conversation he would say “Fontainebleau?” Each time I would try to correct him.

    Fast forward to 2005 when the new pope is not only a friend of the Abbot of Fontgombault but had even visited the monastery.

  22. Dale says:

    Pretending to work at my computer in Scotland and listening to a live broadcast (maybe EWTN)

    It was very exciting, I guessed from the very first syllable of his name. II know that ‘exciting’ is an odd word to choose but it’s the best one to describe my mood – ‘jubilating’ would be better but doesn’t exist ;o)

  23. Jordan Potter says:

    I was in the newsroom at the paper where I worked at the time. We all paused momentarily to watch the announcement on network t.v. I knew as soon as I heard the word “Iosephum” that it was Cardinal Ratzinger. It was a very happy day, and I didn’t really think he would be elected. I hoped he would be, but I thought the cardinals might have opted for someone a few years younger — and after all, Cardinal Ratzinger himself had been hoping to retire for some time. But it was, I think, the best possible choice, and would bring some continuity from John Paul II’s papacy while blessing the Church theologically and liturgically.

  24. Christine says:

    It was around lunchtime in my office in Ohio. All the Financial Advisors
    have televisions in their offices. Everyone kept going into an office of
    an FA who was out to lunch. It was so exciting. There was a crowd of us
    watching and waiting when we heard Habemus Papem. I still remember jumping up
    and down, and crying with great happiness when I heard the words,
    Josefem, and then the definitive word, Ratzinger. It was such a memorable
    moment. I have gone to the Vatican website to relive it several times.
    It is in the videos under “white smoke”. I think I’ll do that today
    sometime. God Bless the Papacy! Christine

  25. MJ says:

    I was at a funeral that day(I am a funeral director) and we were on our way to the cemetery(I had the priest in my car) and heard the news that a new pope had been chosen. of course, the announcement wasn’t out yet..so we completed the graveside service(I think the priest “pushed” it a bit) and then got right back in our cars to hear who had been chosen. Of course, it was only commericals, but when it came on and they said that Joseph Ratiznger was the new pope with the name Benedict XVI…there were shouts of joy in that cemetery!. What a day! We were now blessed to have a wonderful bishop(Bruskewitz) and new pope!!!

  26. Vincenzo says:

    “Is it possible to post a YouTube or other link to the video of the great announcements?


    I found the Fox News video. Go to this web page at the Fox News site:

    click here

    Then scroll down – on the left side you’ll see “Papal Video.” Select “Ratzinger Elected New Pope.”

  27. Ben of the Bayou says:

    I was in Saint Peter’s Square, about five rows from the front, praying the Rosary when the smoke began to pour out. At first, we were usure that it was actually “white” smoke because we (a friend of mine and I who had flown over just for the election) had been present for the other “burnings” and had been fooled by the greyish smoke. However, when we checked the time and realized that the burn was early, we knew and we shared the suspicion and hope that he would be the one for whom we had been praying. Sure enough…

    I must say, it was also quite an experience to see the Square fill up. While waiting, before the smoke, we had been around 3,000, maybe. But when the bells began to ring, the floodgates opened and the faithful poured in. I was so touched to see so many with a deep love for the Church and the Holy Father, and the shouts of joy around me at the election of Papa Ratzinger left me shocked when I returned home to the States to find that some had not been so pleased. The election of such a great and saintly man filled my heart with joy for the next two months, and even made the horror of watching a woman in her late fifties dressed up in black and with close-cropped white hair, yelling, “We want to have a female pope” every morning, seem very insiginificant.

    I join today in the great chorus of the Te Deum once again and I pray a hearty “Deo Gratias.” Ad multos annos, Sancte Pater!

  28. Elizabeth V says:

    I am an at-home mom, so I was lucky to be able to have the TV on pretty much all the time, just watching and waiting.

    So, I saw the white smoke live. I called our parish school (where my husband was a teacher at the time) and told the secretary: “WHITE SMOKE!” She didn’t even know yet! So she thanked me for telling her, and told me that she was going to go tell all the teachers.

    Next, I picked up the phone and called my best friend and told her, too. We were both only 2 when Pope John Paul the Great was elected. We were both sad to lose him, but this was very exciting! She put on her TV, and we just watched on the phone, together. We didn’t really say much. I started crying. She started crying. I remember thinking that up until there was white smoke, I had my favorites, but right then at that moment, I wasn’t worried at all. I felt very peaceful. I know the Holy Spirit will always guide and protect our Church. I believed that whoever was elected, it was good news.

    Almost as soon as I hung up with my friend, the phone rang. It was my mom. We cried together, too.

    I will remember that day the rest of my life!

  29. I was riding around in my golf cart while working as a Ranger at The Everglades Golf Course. I was wearing headphones and closely following the news on my transistor radio.

    And then the announcement came. Cardinal Ratzinger was elected Pope.

    I began driving my cart around in circles. I was steering with my right hand and punching the air with my left fist and yelling “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah” as loud as I could.

    I actually teared-up. I was SO joyful. I still am.

    I have lived during the reigns of two of the holiest and brightest Popes of all time…

    Thanks be to God I was Bornacatholic and thanks be to God for my Mom and Dad.

  30. Jeff Miller says:

    When I heard reports of white smoke I rushed home to watch the TV coverage.

    When I heard the word Joseph announced I started jumping up and down as soon as I realized it was Cardinal Ratzinger who was elected. Then I started screaming with joy. I then wrote a blog post so jubilant that I was invited to come on MSNBC with some other Catholic bloggers. Unfortunately the serpentine drive in my car broke, and so I missed out. But even having to have my car towed to be fixed did not dim my joy at all on that day or the days to come.

  31. Antonia says:

    I just came home from work (in Singapore), started streaming EWTN on the ‘Net when I saw the white smokes!!! They had not announced who the newly elected Pope was then; I text-ed all my Catholic friends “Habemus Papam”! Some few hours later I jumped up and down when the announcer said “Josephum (YAY!) Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae Cardinales Ratzinger”… It’s been two years; ad multos annos!

  32. Marysann says:

    I will never forget the day that Pope Benedict was elected. I was in the United States Interests Section in Havana, Cuba. I had just come down the stairs to basement where my office was located. There was a television in the area outside the office, and a few of our Cuban employees were gathered around it. When I got over to the television, a cardinal was coming out on to the balcony. It took me a few seconds to realize who had been elected because the program was in Spanish, and my Spanish wasn’t good enough to understand everything. I was elated when I understood that Cardinal Ratzinger was out new Pope. I remember floating around for the next several days. I don’t think that I have completely come down yet! Thank you, Lord, for our Holy Father, Pope Benedict!

  33. AM says:

    I was at a small international scientific conference in Germany, near Trier. Dinner conversation was about everything (as per usual) including the election: the Germans were mostly saying, if its Ratzinger there’ll be protest marches; the Italians were largely in favour; me I was just hoping and hoping. Six pm Prof. XXX came over to me with his mobile, showing an I.M. from someone at the diocese saying that Cdl. Ratzinger was elected as Benedict. Deo Gratias! I said this a little too loudly :-) and a grin started which wouldn’t go away for three days.

    But I also found myself praying, ne tradat eum in manus inimici eius, and Dominus conservet eum, over and over. It’s a hard job.

  34. Theodoricus says:

    I was working in my shop and the news of his election was live on the radio…I began to scream: “Yes! Yes!, Oh thank You Lord!.” The people in the shop asked me what was going on and i said: “We have a pope and a very good one!” They looked at me if i came from another planet hahahaha.
    I started to call my friends and they also got completely crazy.

    It was indeed a day to remember!

  35. Marcin says:

    On that day I was glued to my computer monitor at work watching live EWTN feed, in outright violation of the net policy. You can imagine that when working at the university you meet mostly Catholics of the liberal leaning. During hours before the dark smoke I’d heard comments like “I hope it won’t be Ratzinger” . And no, they weren’t able to spoil that great moment. I was obviously immensely excited, and also relieved (Yes! Deo Gratias yet another Catholic Pope). Being not an office screamer, I went out to the hallway to visit and share the joy with one or two Catholics that I thought I could connect with, but it seemed obvious to me that I was the only one into it.
    I deeply regret I failed to tape the announcement.

  36. John Polhamus says:

    I wanted to add a couple of things…first, I too was unable to make the leap from “Josephum” straight to Ratzinger, and I started flipping through my list of known Cardinals thinking “I don’t know a Cardinal Joseph! Who’s he?!?” When “Ratzinger” was pronounced, wow, it was like fireworks! Second, immediately some phone calls went out, and a group of about twenty of us, ranging in ages from fifteen to eighty gathered on the steps of a Catholic Church in a heavily touristed area of town, and sang the Te Deum and various Marian chant selections in front of startled passers-by.

    And lastly all that jumping up and down in the kitchen frightened our cats terribly, they were eating at the time. They got over it though, the last time I checked. (There’s a metaphor there I’m deliberately not making!!) God Bless Pope Benedict XVI!!

  37. PB says:

    I was between jobs at the time and was getting rather concerned about my financial situation. I said my morning prayers on that day, and had a strange feeling that there would be two pieces of good news that day. So I went off to the store to get some groceries, then came back to check EWTN for news on the conclave. I saw a cheering crowd waiting for the new Pope to come out. I sat for about an hour and was privileged to watch the announcement and the first appearance of Pope Benedict XVI. Then, not five minutes after I turned off EWTN, my employment agency called and sent me out on a long-term temporary job.There were my two pieces of good news! Deo Gratias!

  38. Lynne says:

    I had just returned to the Church, in early April, after sporadically following its teachings since
    getting married in 1988 (wasn’t a practicing Catholic at the time but I knew I had to get married in
    the Church). That was a horrible few weeks before, with watching the process of Terry Schiavo being
    starved and Pope John Paul II die, I knew I wanted Cardinal Ratzinger to become the next pope.

    I was working from home that day, so I got to watch the announcement live.

    It was wonderful.

  39. Fr. Aidan Logan, OCso says:

    I was deployed with the US Navy in the Persian Gulf and was able to watch the
    direct feed from Rome. Since we were at anchor there was little interruption of transmission. (This happens when the ship rolls in the open seas.) It was “all pope all the time” as every TV on the ship was tuned to FOX. We were about to begin our regular Convert and Catholic Catch Up Class when I suggested that we turn on the TV as see if we had a pope. Despite all the predictions I didn’t dare hope that it would be Cardinal Ratzinger.Never have I known such joy and relief! One very salty chief petty officer said it all: “Well, father, I don’t know anything about this Ratzinger fellow but, listening to the people who are against him, I like him already!” Vox populi!
    Fr. Aidan Logan, O.C.s.o. / Chaplain / U. S. Naval Academy / Annapolis, Maryland

  40. Vincenzo: Thanks for that link! How wonderful to see it again.

  41. tim says:

    At Applebees, of all places. Saw the tv at the bar, saw our beloved Benedict come out, and I freaked out! Hey, I know that guy! Gave me a good lesson on trusting the Holy Ghost a bit more.

    Now, let’s get that Motu!

  42. Pedantic Classicist says:

    In the computer room of the languages department at U.Kentucky, where I had seen the announcement of the decision on the internet and was trying to get a feed from EWTN. Within a few minutes, though, a sizeable crowd of faculty and grad students had gathered and found a broadcast on the tv in the room. Surprising b/c I was pretty sure I was just about the only Catholic (practicing, anyway) among them. Notably (and I’ll never forget this), a native German professor of German whom I knew vaguely (I’m a classicist: yes, Latin, Greek, German, Russian, Hebrew, Arabic, and a few other languages are all lumped together in one dept. at UKY) sat down and said something to the effect of, “Well, it doesn’t really matter to me, but just as long as it isn’t that German guy, Ratzinger.”

    My secular friends, too, were total killjoys (kills-joy?), unfortunately: to them, Ratzinger “winning” this election was another depressing example of some “out of touch conservative” winning, in the aftermath of the US elections of 2004. They just couldn’t get it that I would have been excited no matter who came out on that balcony, i.e. no matter what label the MSM had given the guy. Dude, we have a pope! How is that not cause for celebration?

    (Obiter ob hanc tuam ephemerin, Pater Z, te valde laudo atque tibi gratiam refero quod res, praesertim eas quae ad linguam Latinam attinent, tam callide hic tractas. Cura ut iugiter valeas!)

  43. maynardus says:

    I watched the announcement on FOX, standing around a t.v. in my office with several nominally-Catholic co-workers. When the announcement came, no one seemed to know who he was. “Is he good?” one young woman asked me. Another said, “Some priest was on the news last night and said ‘Ratzenburger’ would never get elected!” I just remember standing there with what had to be an enormous grin on my face.

    Almost immediately I checked the EWTN website and happened to catch a classic blooper. They’d obviously prepared “canned” pages for all of the papabile and the one for Cardinal Ratzinger was headed “The Pontificate of Pius XIII”. Immediately I did a screen capture and saved it as a JPEG and sure enough, when I refreshed my browser, they’d corrected it. I’ve always wondered what “working titles” they gave the ones on some of the more liberal cardinals…

    Ad multos annos!

  44. RBrown says:

    My secular friends, too, were total killjoys (kills-joy?), unfortunately: to them, Ratzinger “winning” this election was another depressing example of some “out of touch conservative” winning, in the aftermath of the US elections of 2004.

    Out of touch?

    The Carthusians’ motto applies: Stat crux dum volvitur orbis.

  45. Joseph says:

    Hey Maynardus,
    Is there any chance you could share that screen-shot blooper with us somehow? I would really like that!

    I was taking a nap after my morning classes, and for some odd reason, I just woke-up. I was about to roll over and pass back out, but I thought maybe I should check the fox news webpage to see if anything happened. I came very very close to not checking (I was still really tired) but I figured, why not? I refreshed their homepage (I passed out with my laptop on my bed) and they had a giant picture of the chimney and white smoke pouring out of it! I wasn’t tired anymore. In about ten seconds I jumped out of bed, ran downstairs and flipped EWTN on. It seems I was awake about 15 minutes before the announcment and appearance of Benedict XVI. As soon as I heard Iosephum I went crazy. I jumped out of my chair and started shouting with joy. I think I called everyone in my cell phone. It is one of my most joyful memories!

  46. lourdes says:

    I was eating a slice of pizza in Penn Station, New York with a colleague. We had been in a real estate closing and hadn’t heard the news. The tv was broadcasting that there was a new pope, but they assumed everyone knew who it was. When they said the name, I shouted out “Thank You Jesus!”

  47. Geoffrey says:

    I worked at a veterinary hospital at the time. I had been praying that I would not miss the announcement, as the last time it happened I was not even born! I happened to check the news headlines online and saw something about “White Smoke…” I think my heart stopped for a second. I was both nervous and excited. I fear hearing a name like “Mahoney.”

    I think I paced for a bit, called up my mother at work to let her know that “habemus papam,” though we didn’t know who yet. I told her I would keep her informed.

    I kept checking online, waiting for a name. I then saw a link that said “Watch Live.” I decided I wasn’t going to miss history, so I clicked on it and watched everything on MSNBC’s website. My coworkers wondered what I was doing and I told them. No one really cared. One coworker came to watch too. When Cardinal Estevez appeared, I was on the edge of my seat. I cannot describe the mixed feelings of grace, nervousness, and excitement. When the name finally came… Ratzinger… I slapped my knee so loudly it startled my coworker. I was on such a high for the rest of the day, nay… the whole week!

    In honour of today, I pulled this old hymn out from my “archives”…

    Hymn for the Pope – Long Live the Pope
    by Rt. Rev. Msgr. Hugh T. Henry, Litt. D.
    H.G. Ganss, 1908

    Long live the Pope! His praises sound
    Again and yet again:
    His rule is over space and time;
    His throne the hearts of men:
    All hail! the Shepherd King of Rome,
    The theme of loving song:
    Let all the earth his glory sing,
    And heav’n the strain prolong.

    Beleaguered by the foes of earth,
    Beset by hosts of hell,
    He guards the loyal flock of Christ,
    A watchful sentinel:
    And yet, amid the din and strife,
    The clash of mace and sword,
    He bears alone the shepherd staff,
    This champion of the Lord.

    His signet is the Fisherman’s;
    No sceptre does he bear;
    In meek and lowly majesty
    He rules from Peter’s Chair:
    And yet from ev’ry tribe and tongue,
    From ev’ry clime and zone,
    Three hundred million voices sing,
    The glory of his throne.

    Then raise the chant, with heart and voice,
    In church and school and home:
    “Long live the Shepherd of the Flock!
    Long live the Pope of Rome!”
    Almighty Father, bless his work,
    Protect him in his ways,
    Receive his pray’rs, fulfil his hopes
    And grant him “length of days.”

    Taken from “The St. Gregory Hymnal and Catholic Choir Book” (1920) by Nicola A. Montani

  48. Romulus says:

    In the lead-up to the conclave, I was chatting with my online friends, thus:

    04/13/2005 4:19:13 PM CDT
    someone here suggested Urban II the Second.
    How about Pope Suburban?
    Think naming rights — we might get General Motors to pick up the whole cost of the next papacy

    04/18/2005 4:01:43 PM CDT
    I wish it could be so, but the rest of us would have to spend his whole pontificate defending him from accusations of Naziism. “Clement” sets the right tone — a velvet glove to cover the iron fist. Or else, a name that extends a hand to the East: Nicholas or Anastasius.

    Then the White Smoke appeared:

    04/19/2005 11:09:41 AM CDT •
    Miserere nobis, Domine.

    04/19/2005 11:19:02 AM CDT
    Do I dare think it could be? Yet how could the cardinals reject him and agree on another so soon?

    04/19/2005 11:44:40 AM CDT

    04/19/2005 11:56:57 AM CDT
    Deo Gratias!
    Oggi, sempre.
    I’m more moved than I expected.

  49. David says:

    in a van on the way home from a trip to the Grand Canyon. I had heard the bells ringing at a nearby church as we loaded the car but thought that it was only the bells ringing for the Angelus as it was around noon in Arizona. My wife shouted out the gaudium magnum in the back of the rental van. I didn’t have any access to the media (other than the car radio) until we made it back to Chicago many hours later. I was up late enought to watch our new Holy Father offer the Holy Sacrifice for the first time as pope.

    Oremus pro pontifice nostro Benedicto…

  50. Christopher Sarsfield says:

    I was at home working in my office, when my wife told me they had elected the Pope. The feast day (at least according to the old calendar) was St. Leo IX, a German pope. This gave me great hope. The whole family gathered around the TV (my wife, 10 children and myself). Finally we heard Jospehum. The living room erupted in cheers. It resembled the reaction of a great victory in a sports event. We then ran outside and celebrated with the neighbors. It was a great day of tremendous hope.

  51. Williamston, South Caro…
    Naples, Florida
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    Villanova, Pennsylvania
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    Cochranville, Pennsylva…
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    Washington, District of…
    South Burlington, Vermont
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  52. JaneC says:

    I am in Los Angeles at the moment, in my apartment. Two years ago, I was in my apartment in Spokane, sleeping a little late because my classes didn’t start until the afternoon. I woke up very suddenly and decided to turn on the television, even though that was not my habit. Just as I turned on the news, the announcement was made.

    I was very excited, dressed quickly, and went to see my friend who worked in the campus ministry office. When I came in the door, she hushed me immediately. “I know you’re excited–I am too! But Sister has locked herself in her office just there, so we’d best keep it down.” The students were mostly very happy, but many of our professors did not share that sentiment.

  53. Sean says:

    I wasn’t following matters closely and so saw it later on the evening news. As an unthinking Spirit of Vatican 2 drone I was disappointed that it was Ratzinger though, together with the funeral (which I did watch), the spectacle moved me more deeply than I realised. I have changed a lot these past two years. Benedict has invited me to think.

  54. Shawn says:

    I was on my couch in our place in Atlanta. I had just dozed off and I heard the bell ringing like crazy on Fox News. When I cleared my bleary eyes, I saw Habamus Papam!! on the screen. I couldn’t believe it. Then we I heard the name Iosephum announced I started jumping up and down. I knew instantly who it was. I got the chills just thinking about that great day.

  55. Richard says:

    I was in the graduate department of theology lounge with one other grad student, watching a tiny TV…and when the magic words “…dominum iosephum” came out, we exploded in shouts of joy. We knew it was Ratzinger. And all was well.

    On the other hand, I heard that at the Weston School of Theology lounge, you could have heard a pin drop…

  56. techno_aesthete says:

    I’m on the list! I’m on the list!

    I was concurrently reading posts, as well as posting, on an online forum and watching a live video feed (I think it was EWTN). I hoped and prayed that Cardinal Ratzinger would be elected, but never thought it would actually happen. I was absolutely elated when the anouncement was made. The Holy Ghost has given the Church and the world an extraordinary gift. Deo gratias! I am still overjoyed that he is our Pope and try to pray a Rosary for him every day.

    As a friend said to me shortly after his election, “Whenever I see him, I can’t help but smile.” How true it is. I saved a photo from his first general audience in St. Peter’s Square where he, sitting on his throne, appears to be looking into the camera and waving at the viewer. I set that photo as the desktop background on the computer at the chapel I attend. To this day, every time I use that computer, I have a huge smile on my face. Ad multos annos!

  57. dcs says:

    I was at work and my wife and kids popped in for a visit. We had heard about the white smoke so of course we watched the announcement live from my work computer (it might have been FOX but I don’t remember). I never expected Card. Ratzinger to be elected; perhaps I paid to much attention to the secular media.

  58. B. says:

    I was working on my PC and had the Radio turned on, when they announced white smoke.
    As I didn’t have a TV I estimated that if I’d ride my bike to my parents I’d come in with still enough time to see the announcement, so I immediately left. As I passed by a Catholic Church, the bells were already ringing.
    Arriving and switching on the TV I realized that my Radio station had been very slow, as Cardinal Ratzinger (I didn’t know what he had named himself yet) was already standing at the balcony.
    I was both surprised and overjoyed and called down my father to the TV who wasn’t as joyful as I was. Reading of all the people who shared their joy with friends and family makes me a bit jealous even now, as I don’t know absolutely anyone who would enjoy the thought of a conservative pope.

    For some very nice covering of the papal election read the “mini-blog” of the Remnant (even if I don’t normally like that paper) here. I enjoyed it quite a bit back then.

  59. RootAnn says:

    I was at home with my kids. We heard the news (white smoke!) on the radio and I rushed to hook up the TV. (We don’t watch TV, but we have one for things like this and the occasional movie.) I had it on mute until one of the only channels that comes in broke in with coverage. I cried with happiness while the kids peppered me with questions. I got to hear (but not see) Fr Z. My prayers are still with Pope Benedict, although I admit that I no longer pray for him daily like I did for his first half-year or so. I should start that up again.

  60. Cerimoniere says:

    I was on holiday during the conclave. I had just returned to London from visiting a priest friend on the south coast of England, and went straight to have tea with another friend at our club. We then went downstairs to a room with a computer, because we knew that the evening vote would have been taken. We were at the BBC website, constantly refreshing it; I think it actually crashed briefly.

    While we were there, my priest friend sent me a text message, thinking I might still be in transit. It said simply “Ratzinger. Benedict.” Upon reading it, I believe that I emitted some vernacular expression of utter astonishment, and read the news aloud. Experiencing a moment of the most complete relief and joy, we went upstairs to the bar, where we each consumed (seriatim) glasses of gin and tonic, and champagne.

    I had given up thinking of a Ratzinger papacy as anything other than a pipe dream years before. Only as I saw how he functioned as Cardinal Dean did my hope begin to reawaken, and I reminded myself that nothing is impossible with God. Simply to think of the Holy Father now is to remind oneself of that.

  61. techno_aesthete says:

    Help! I am at home now and trying to see the video referenced above (I was at work earlier and didn’t try from there). I go to the page at Fox’s site, scroll down, select “Ratzinger Elected New Pope” from the video drop-down list and the only thing that happens is that I get brought to the top of the page. The same thing happens no matter which item I select from the list. Can someone give me a direct link to the video? I have Real Player, Windows Media Plater and Quicktime on my computer, so it shouldn’t be a file format porblem. I’ve tried using IE 7 and Firefox 2.

  62. I was at work in downtown Minneapolis in the Campbell Mithun tower which is right next to St. Olaf’s Catholic Church. I had my radio on in my office. White smoke was spotted in the mid-morning. I IM’d a Catholic coworker in our Denver office. We were using IM like mad all morning. We were praying it would be Joseph Ratzinger.

    When Cardinal Estevez said the name, I sent a IM: It’s Ratzinger!!!!

    The bells at St. Olaf were tolling like crazy for at least 20 minutes straight.

    I had enough time after the announcement to go to Noon Mass at St. Olaf. It was fuller then usual. Two priests concelebrated (Fr. Kennedy and Fr. Pavlik)-not the norm for that parish. Both of them wanted to be there. We all wanted to be there.

    The congregation applauded when Father Kennedy announced who had been elected-in case anyone had not heard. Applause is not the norm in that church during Mass but in this case, I dare to say that, I think it was appropriate.

  63. Vincenzo says:

    “Help! I am at home now and trying to see the video referenced above (I was at work earlier and didn’t try from there). I go to the page at Fox’s site, scroll down, select “Ratzinger Elected New Pope” from the video drop-down list and the only thing that happens is that I get brought to the top of the page. The same thing happens no matter which item I select from the list. Can someone give me a direct link to the video? I have Real Player, Windows Media Plater and Quicktime on my computer, so it shouldn’t be a file format porblem. I’ve tried using IE 7 and Firefox 2.”

    I’m using Firefox and it works. I just tested it with MSIE 6.0, however, and I’m experiencing what you described (nothing pops up). I set the pop up blocking in MSIE to allow foxnews.com but it still does not work. You might want to try Firefox’s pop-up blocker settings.

    Here is a more direct link that you can try:

    click here

  64. Vincenzo says:


    That more direct link is working with Firefox but I can’t get it to work with my MSIE 6.0.


  65. anon. says:

    I was watching the tv with my sweet 11yo daughter–children don’t watch tv at out house unless there is something of tremendous importance occurring–and she was over the moon for happiness to see a new Pope. She didn’t know anything about him, but knew that he must certainly be a good and holy man.

    I didn’t show up on your list of cities today (usually I do, as I like to check in daily–maybe the MP will have appeared) because I spent the night and following day at a neurology clinic with my dear girl. Please pray for her. Pray with the woman in Scripture: Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me–my daughter is troubled.

  66. Stephen M. Collins says:

    I actually missed the announcement because I was working on a pipe organ in Savannah, Georgia. When my boss and I returned to the shop in Charleston, South Carolina, I immediately went to my computer (DSL 24/7) to check.

    I was immediately overjoyed and almost jumped out of my seat. My boss, who grew up Lutheran but doesn’t attend anywhere these days, welled up with tears. I looked at him, and questioned him. All he had to say was “They knew who they wanted!”

  67. David Cheney says:

    I was at my normal job when some folks starting hearing on the radio that they were seeing smoke but the color was unclear. Because of the timing (about 11am local time), I knew that meant it had to be white and thus a new pope. I quickly arranged to take an extended lunch.

    I arrived at my parents home (they lived just a few miles from where I worked at the time) to find them outside doing yard work and completely unaware. We quickly went in and turned on a TV and I fired up their computer. The introduction came just a couple of minutes later. Within the next few minutes I was able to post a quick update to my website with Pope Benedict XVI’s info.

  68. Maureen says:

    I was sick at home, feeling terrible. I finally fell asleep and got some rest — and when I woke up, it was all over! But I was so happy, I didn’t really care. Such a blessed time.

  69. Christine says:

    If you can not get the foxnews.com video,(and for some reason, I can not), go to the Vatican website, choose English – or whatever language you wish, click on news and information, choose their TV channel, then archives. Choose The Pope’s first address – it’s right below “white smoke” and the the video from the announcement of Habemus Papem will begin. I have watched it, well, many times. It never ceases to give me enormous happiness. Plus, you will see Pope Benedict fro, inside the Vatican (behind him on the balcony). Don’t know if you’ll see that on the foxnews site.

  70. Rose says:

    I was in my office and my secretary in the next office had the radio on so she could hear the news, which really surprised me because she is not an ardent Catholic. The announcer interrupted the music and said something about news from Rome that there was “white smoke” meaning that a new Pope had been elected. I remember the two of us looking at each other in astonishment and my saying “What,so soon? It’s got to be Cardinal Ratzinger.” And so it was. I had never even heard of Cardinal Ratzinger before the death of JPII (we are rather parochial here, usually no-one talks about the wider church)but I watched CNN’s coverage of the funeral Mass and must confess I was utterly swept away. Here was strength, serenity and holiness, I thought. Heaven recreated in that liturgy. From that moment on, my relationship with the Church and my experience of faith has not been the same. God bless Pope Benedict.

  71. techno_aesthete says:


    Molte, molte grazie! The direct link worked! (in Firefox – I didn’t bother trying IE)

  72. techno_aesthete says:

    Rose, your use of the phrase “swept away” reminded me of a piece written two years ago. The title is “Blown clean away by a brush with Benedict.”

  73. Karen says:

    I was home watching EWTN. At the time, I had just finally decided to leave my old church (not Catholic)because there was too much liberal theology. I didn’t know where I would head or end up, I just knew I couldn’t go back. I had heard that Cardinal Ratzinger had a reputation for being a conservative so when his name was announced I started crying for joy! I am happy to report, two years later, I joined the Catholic Church this last Easter vigil!

  74. Anne D says:

    Two years ago I was working in my garden planting peas and lettuce. I came in for a break just in time to see the news that there was white smoke! We all gathered around the TV to watch and wait for the glorious revelation. I have ‘Habemus Papam’ writtten on my garden map for that year. It is interesting that I was also working in my garden this year on the anniversary preparing to plant peas and lettuce. We are a little late with the garden this year due to an unusual snow storm during the Easter Triduum. We received over a foot of snow then and more during Easter week. It has fiinally gone away. The only thing predictable about the weather in northern Michigan is that it is unpredictable.
    We also remember where we were when John Paul II was elected. Leonard was religious education director at St. Mary’s in Elmira, N.Y. We and our children were participating in a diocesan (Rochester, NY) workshop at Keuka College that weekend when we heard the news of the Polish pope. We were especially pleased because of the Polish connection and the fact that our eldest son is named John Paul. Oh – and one of the featured speakers was Joe Wise!
    By the way, the picture of Bishop Clark does not surprise us at all. It greaves us to see how our dear friends back in Elmira are still suffering.

    God bless your internet ministry.

    Anne & Leonard Dezelski
    Traverse City, MIchigan

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