What were you up to?

It is sometimes possible to remember precisely where you were and what you were doing when historic events took place. People often cite examples like where they were when they heard that JFK was shot, or when Neil Armstrong stepped off the LEM and onto the surface of the Moon.

Where were you and what were you doing when you heard that Joseph Card. Ratzinger had been elected Pope?

Here is a shot of what I was doing. (Many thanks to the person who sent me the video tape I took this photo from.)

Chris Wallace, Greg Burke, Fr. Zuhlsdorf

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Anne Gomes says:

    We were stationed in Guatemala. I had just had breakfast with the Peace Corps volunteers we frequently hosted and was working on an embroidery project. We had Fox News on cable there and when they announced, “Habemus Papem”. I stopped what I was doing to watch. I was on the verge of tears when Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger walked out. I am still thrilled by what the Holy Spirit has done through the Cardinals. Thanks for reminding me. AnneG in NC

  2. John says:

    I was in class, watching live coverage on my laptop. I had the audio off (because I was in class), but I was very excited when they flashed Card. Ratzinger’s name. Ad multos annos!

  3. Mary-Magdalene says:

    I was homeschooling my children, and put the live web can from a news network on the computer next room.
    After every assignments, I went to check, then I saw that smoke, white on the black roof.
    then the bell for 18:oo rang…and rang….and rang….

    And then that wondeful moment, when the cleric said; JOSEPHUM, and I lost it. I couldn\’t not believe my prayers were answered. I still feel the exictement of the day.

    Long live our Holy Father, he had done so much already for someone the media called a \”transitional pope!

  4. cuaguy says:

    I was home, on some sort of break, and jumped up and down.

  5. Thomas says:

    I was in Mass at my high school at the time. That was one of the two years our Masses were on Tuesdays.

  6. Michael says:

    I remember it well: the news was breaking as I left the hospital after taking my then four-year-old to meet her newborn sister.

  7. Winfield says:

    I was live blogging a panel on Social Security reform at the Heritage Foundation. Joel Mowbray, a journalist, was sitting beside me and occasionally checking the web for updates on the papal election. In the middle of one of the presentations, he nudged me, gave an enthusiastic thumbs-up, and whispered, “It’s Ratzinger!”

  8. TJM says:

    I was in my office when a news story broke across my internet access – I jumped up and cheered. Tom

  9. Scott says:

    I got up from Bed (New Zealand) and it was on the news that \”German Arch Conservative Elected Pope\” I jumped up and down for joy had tears in my eyes. Ran into my Mothers room and woke her up to tell her.

  10. Central Valley says:

    I was at work commenting to coworkers on Fr. Z’s commentary on Fox. When I heard JOSEFUM, I was almost overcome by tears. It was a moving experience for me. It was obvious to my coworkers too as one of them releaved me so I could take my break. I immediately called my wife, who was aslepp. On telling her the news she said “oh, he’s our guy”. Yes he is our guy and we pray many more years. The Church is an will be better because of Cardinal Ratzinger. If only the American bishops would follow him. Here in California we await the actiosn of the Holy Father as many of the California bishops will be of retirement age in two to five years. We pray Rome will reject any of their recommended replacements and hand pick new shepherds to lead the California flock. Pray for the Holy Father and pray for those of us suffering in California.

  11. Thomas says:

    I was shaving.

    On my way home from BC where I was dropping off a student loan payment, one of the guys on WEEI sports radio said it looked like there was white smoke. When I got hom there were still no confirming bells, so I thought I could get a quick shave. Bad idea. Halfway through- the bells!

    I had to rinse my face and watch the developments half-shaved. Normally for a borderline OCD that would have been intolerable, but the excitement and emotion were so intense that I didn’t think about it.

    At the time I didn’t know the exact formula of the announcement, so the “IOSEPHUM” caught me off guard and I didn’t immediately make the connection. When Cardinal Medina Estevez said “RATZINGER” I was bouncing off the ceiling and started making phone calls.

    A moment of pure joy in my living room.

  12. TheRovingC says:

    I was recovering from back surgury at home on my couch…It was kinda sad cause i had no one to tell most of my neighbors are protestant…

  13. Joe says:

    I was at Daily Mass when the bells rang during Mass indicating that a decision was made.

    I returned to my office and was able to see EWTN on streaming video (all of that has since been blocked out) and saw Cardinal Ratzinger at the balcony,

    I was excited, to say the least.

  14. I was in Steubenville’s library talking with a friend when people came in and said, “White smoke!” I ran to the library’s computers and checked a popular Catholic web site and it confirmed the statement.

    I then ran down to the JC Williams Center to watch the news develop on TV. They dragged it on and on and finally the Cardinal stepped out onto the loggia. He was going through the Latin to “IOSEPHUM” and everybody cheered, though they had no clue which “Joseph” it was. Then came the grand moment, “…RATZINGER!” We just lost it. People were still cheering when the Cardinal was about to announce the Papal name. I silenced everyone surrounding the TV, telling them that the Cardinal was going to announce the Papal name. “BENEDICTUM DECIMUM SEXTUM!” People were silent. They had no clue what he said. However, I quickly did the math and Latin and shouted out, “BENEDICT THE XVI, WUH-WHOOOOO!!”

    Good memories.

  15. cordelia says:

    my whole family was gathered around the tv watching EWTN’s coverage. when Ratzinger’s name was finally announced i was crying like a baby…my husband said, “dang, we weren’t that happy when we got married.”

  16. cordelia says:

    should have been YOU weren’t that happy. not WE.

  17. I was in Saint Peter’s Square with the Rector Magnificus of the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas, kneeling for the blessing.

  18. Mac McLernon says:

    I was soooooooooo happy! I was in the parish hall, making a cup of tea when the black… grey… well, whitish… ok, white smoke went up… I blogged about it in more detail HERE

  19. Brenda says:

    “…the video tape I took this photo from.” Ungrammatical: you should have written “the video tape from which I took this photo.” [And this could be the discussion you will have been ejected from! o{]:¬) ]

  20. Vincent S. says:

    I was on my way to the 12:10 Mass at the National Shrine when one of the priests came out and told me there was white smoke. Immediately a huge crowd gathered around the television outside the gift shop and waited anxiously. It was so crowded some people had to go elsewhere because they deemed it a fire hazard. When the announcement was made the place erupted in cheers.

  21. Jackson says:

    I was sitting at my desk, with the t.v. on. When the announcement came, I won’t say I fell out of my chair, rather, I floated out of it.

  22. JohnMa says:

    I was in (public) high school at the time and every TV on campus was tuned to CNN or FOX. Even those students that were not Catholic were transfixed by the election. I remember that I was in AP Chemistry, doing a lab while watching the TV when the news finally was announced.

  23. Dr. Eric says:

    For some reason, I was at home and surfing the web and the TV was on in the next room. There was a news break and I went in to see what it was and they flashed to Rome and the announcement came. I was overjoyed, I jumped up and down and thanked God that He had given us a good shepherd.

  24. Rob says:

    Myself and other brother seminarians were at mass (praying for a new pope) when someone ran in the chapel and said something to the celebrant. This prompted him to say \’our prayers have been answered so let\’s finish mass and find out who it is.\’

  25. W. Schrift says:

    I was at lunch in high school. Someone who had been fooling around in a computer class and was the first to see the announcement rushed in and told everyone that a new pope was elected. I was very happy — I was already a member of the Ratzinger Fan Club!

  26. GordonBOPS says:

    I was at work with streaming coverage on EWTN when they in fact the feed cut to smoke coming from the chimney–it appeared black then started to turn white–but Arroyo and Neuhaus did not immediately notice the white smoke. I remember thinking–I think that’s the white smoke we’ve been waiting for–and it soon after that it was confirmed–so of course, I continued watching to see indeed, who the new Pope was-and whether the speculation that it would be Cardinal Ratzinger was accurate–sure enough, it was!!

  27. chadstei says:

    I was watching the Price Is Right and just about ready to find out who won the Showcase Showdown when they broke in with the White Smoke. I was eating luncg in front of the tv, pizza.

  28. Alan Purcell says:

    We were on a transatlantic re-positioning cruise, somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. We had just come back to our cabin for a few moments when we turned on the CNN satellite channel. They were announcing that the white smoke had been observed, and shortly after, we heard the announcement in Latin (or Italian?) of the name. We then knew, and were very pleasantly surprised, that it was Cardinal Ratzinger.

    I hope we do not have to have another election for a very long time!

  29. At the gym, watching the election on one of the televisions attached to a piece of cardio equipment. I think I was the only person there who “whooped” out loud when Pope Benedict walked onto the balcony.

  30. Paul says:

    I was babysitting my godson (and missed the actual announcement – kids!).

  31. SteveJ says:

    Very memorable for me. In 2005, I’d been apostate for many years; I’d gone to Mass daily for months, but had not had the courage to return to the sacraments.

    I was preparing class in a cafe on campus, where the TV always broadcasts CNN with the audio off. When I glanced up and saw the white smoke, I returned to my office, so that I could watch on my laptop with audio. For reasons unclear at the time, I wept with gratitude when the announcement came–completely broke down in tears. Later that week I finally made my confession.

  32. Jack says:

    I was at home, thinking “drat a reactionary prudish german will be the next pope” not knowing that within 3 years I would be baptized :)

  33. Tim Ferguson says:

    I was in Ottawa. Comprehensive exams for canon law were scheduled for that afternoon and the next day (mine was the next day). We heard, over lunch, that there was white smoke. We raced upstairs to watch. One of my classmates, whose exam was that afternoon, said, “I hope it’s not Ratzinger. If it is, I’m just going to go into my exam, sit down and say, ‘Ask whatever question you want, I’m leaving the Church.'”

    When the name was announced, we all turned, in silence, toward our classmate. There was a pregnant pause and I couldn’t hold it in any longer. I jumped up out of my seat, shouted a healthy “Woo Hoo!” and ran down the hall to call my parents.

    My classmate did pass comps, and has since, to an extent, come around to appreciate Our Good Pope.

  34. JaneC says:

    I was in the living room of my college apartment, in my pajamas. I didn’t have class that morning, and would normally have slept very late, but I woke up, thought, “I wonder if we have a new pope yet?” and went out to the living room to turn the television on. The news cast was showing the white smoke, and the cardinal was just stepping onto the balcony to make the announcement.

  35. In Rome, flirting with a newspaper column filing deadline, holding my 15 month old son, Joseph, and doing a happy dance – the wife did not chide me for my cavalier disregard for the boy’s safety. Prosecco and a real cigar followed prayers for HHBXVI. I still got the column filed on time.

  36. Catherine says:

    I was at home watching TV and working on the computer in anticipation of a forthcoming announcement. There seemed to be some confusion about whether the smoke was actually white or not, and when they announced the name Joseph, I was surprised (but very happy!). I immediately called my faithful Catholic mom, and she was thrilled. (She died a few months later.)

    I then called my next-door neighbor, who is from Germany, and said “We
    have a German Pope!”
    She wasn’t very thrilled. Hmm….

  37. Barbara Swan says:

    I was at work and was sneaking out to my car to listen to the all-news channel every half hour or so. Then I heard the church bells at a nearby parish. Ratzinger! I was so thrilled.

    By the way, can anyone tell me if the correct Latin word is “conprehenderunt” or “comprehenderunt”? (John’s Prologue/Last Gospel) All my missals (even one printed in 1925) have the latter, but when I “googled” it, I was asked “Do you mean “conprehenderunt”? Which one is correct (or are both correct?)

  38. PatrickJude says:

    I would have to say that I was amongst the crowd jumping up and down in the Piazza of St. Peter.. was glad that I was actually present at that most historic occasion… can still remember clearly the anticipation of seing the white smoke, the bells, the sudden surge of crowd and the expectation.. the waiting and Cardinal Estevez’s multilingual habemus papam.. and the words.. Josephum…. Josephum?? Ratzinger??? YES!!! great memories of one of the most historic moment of our church.

  39. I was at home praying the Sorrowful Mother chaplet.
    When I turned on the radio, I heard that there
    was white smoke coming from the chimney. I was
    extremely excited to find out who was elected. The
    rest, of course, is history.

  40. Michael says:

    I was in my senior English class in high school. The principle came over the PA and said the new pope was about to be announced and that all classes had permission to stop and watch TV. So we watched for a few minutes until our Papa Ratzi came out!

  41. Jim of Bowie says:

    I was at home watching EWTN coverage. I will never forget it. I literally jumped for joy when I heard the Proto Deacon say Josephum (Sp?).

  42. Allan says:

    At the time, I was a senior at a public university, studying computer science. I was in my computer graphics class, and the professor (who is German but not Catholic) walked in and said, “Hey, did you guys hear? Ratzinger’s Pope!” I felt like shouting for joy and doing cartwheels, but of course I couldn’t cause a scene in the classroom. (I did plenty of celebrating later.)

  43. Sean Cleary says:

    Awesome, Jack… I was the same way. 25, but fallen away in so many ways, in ways I never knew existed…. and now, in so many ways, thanks to his model, I’m a much different man. I owe a lot to him. I’d just moved to Taiwan with my little family when he was elected. We were watching BBC World… I remember all the “transitional talk” very well… I think the only person I’d have been happy with was Pope Allen Ginsberg… But then he published Deus Caritas Est, and I remember telling Catholic friends, “you know… it’s really good!” And here we are now….

  44. It was the day after my younger brothers and I had been miraculously confirmed. After lots of issues with our parish and eventually a flat-out refusal to confirm us (on the day of John Paul II’s death, no less), an opportunity arose for us to go to Mexico with some friends for the sacrament. As we stood outside the church afterward an extraordinarily strong wind rose up suddenly and nearly knocked over the tables and tents that had been put up, before abruptly dying down again… the Holy Spirit on the way to Rome?

    The following day we were on the way to visit Thomas Aquinas College (at that point my older brother was still at the ‘considering’ stage), and we heard the news announced over the radio five minutes before pulling into the parking lot. When we reached the college the students were running here and there putting up announcements, and the atmosphere was one of such joy and excitement. We decided right away it was our type of college: my brother is graduating this spring, and I’ll be going there this autumn.

    An unforgettable two days. The Holy Spirit was definitely on the move.

  45. KyleB says:

    I was sitting in my dorm room in Trinity Hall at FUS. A friend came running down the hall shouting about white smoke to anyone he could find. There had already been a couple false alarms, so I was a bit skeptical, but walked in to the dorm’s TV lounge anyway. It was not a false alarm, so I’m glad I did! When the announcement was made the theater erupted in cheers as did the whole campus. Soon the bells of the chapel were ringing and there was a buzz around campus for days to come.

  46. Thomas says:

    I might add that all the rest of my day as school kids were going up and down the halls chanting “X-V-I! X-V-I–he’s our guy!!!”

  47. JlovesR says:

    Well, actually, we were sitting on the bed watching you on Fox News.

    We are so grateful to God for such a wonderful Holy Father.

  48. Tom A. says:

    I was in a hotel room on vacation in Wash DC (spring break with the kids). I just happened to turn the TV on about 20 seconds before the announcement. It still brings a tear to my eye then news that it was Cardinal Ratzinger. I simply love this Pope as the Successor of Peter in the same way that I loved Ronald Reagan as our President. We are so fortunate and blessed with our Shepard.

  49. ckdexterhaven says:

    I don’t remember what I was doing at the *exact* moment, but I DO remember listening to Rush Limbaugh that day. He really took the liberal media to task for their description of the “hard line”, “conservative” etc of Cardinal Ratzinger. Rush isn’t a Catholic, but he was incredulous at the media’s treatment of him.

  50. Fr. BJ says:

    Rush isn’t a Catholic

    He really should be. I hope he will convert some day.

    I was in the seminary, watching the coverage on the news in my room. I am not given to jumping up and down, but plenty of the other guys took care of that for me. Shouts could be heard throughout the seminary.

  51. Pam says:

    I was at a St. Vincent de Paul board meeting. Elated doesn’t do it justice.

  52. Fr. Tony says:

    I was in my car, driving up the Greentree Hill into Pittsburgh for spiritual direction, listening to Rush Limbaugh. He’s the one who informed me, and he was obviously pleased with the conclave’s choice.

  53. Rachel says:

    Father, Father, that video from which you posted the screen cap, is it available anywhere on the Internet? I’d love to see it!

    You looked indecently happy. :)

  54. marnie says:

    I was on the bus on the way home and my husband called me to say it was a German. I knew exactly who it was! Prayed a rosary the rest of the way home.

  55. Fr. Daniel Haugan says:

    I was in the staff lunch room of the high school where I was chaplain. The t.v. was tuned to Fox News. I recall teachers saying “I hope it is not that German Cardinal,” moments later Cardinal Ratzinger was announced. After a few seconds of shock and awe, I laughed with joy and delight, for from the time I spent in Rome during my senior year of collage I had come to know Cardinal Ratzinger to be a prayerful, humble, and holy man. Now these few years later the world has come to learn this for itself.

  56. frvidrine says:

    I was blessed to be present in St. Peter’s square anxiously awaiting to see Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger in a white simar!

  57. Geoffrey says:

    I was working at a veterinary hospital at the time. I had been checking the Internet all morning. I figured it would be another day at least, but then I saw the headline on MSN and I became so very nervous so very quickly… you see, I feared a “progressive”.

    Most of the staff was in surgery so I said to myself “the last time this happened, I wasn’t even born yet, so you can bet I’m going to watch this live!” So I watched MSNBC’s coverage online. I was nervous the entire time. When I heard “Iosephum” I didn’t get excited as I couldn’t remember if any other cardinal’s had that name. Then when I heard “Ratzinger” I slapped my knee out of sheer shock and joy… confusing my coworkers. I later went to Mass on my lunch break. I was on such a high all day… and still am! Viva il Papa! :-)

  58. Zach says:

    I was skipping classes at high school that morning to be at the dedication of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Musuem in Springfield, IL. I after President Bush and the rest of the dignitaries had spoken, we got an alert on our cell phones.

  59. RBrown says:

    I was getting ready to go play tennis and turned the TV on to see the situation. When they said that the smoke was later than it should have been, I figured something was up.

    Tennis delayed, I watched it with my non Catholic mother. I thought whoever was elected in 2005 needed the Ratzinger stamp of approval, but I didn’t think the man himself was electable. I thought Bertone would be elected. When the Cardinal Deacon said “Iosephum”, my first thought was they had elected Cardinal Glemp.

    After BXVI appeared on the balcony, I began surfing and saw one old Roman friend after another appearing as commentators.

  60. michigancatholic says:

    I was at work and I watched it on my computer. I whooped and then I danced through the halls of the huge corporation I work for because I couldn’t help myself. The non-catholics thought I was nuts but they thought it was joyous because I did. And Cardinal Ratzinger became the Pope! It was wonderful.

  61. Matthew says:

    I was sitting at my desk at work, checking in on the news headlines every now and then. My brother phoned me and said “Cardinal Ratzinger is the new Pope!”

    I remember worrying about who would lead the Church after John Paul II. But, as always, God provides!

  62. Maynardus says:

    We have t.v. sets throughout my workplace and I watched on FOX News. My co-workers are mostly lapsed Catholics and when they noticed my jobilation one of them remarked “he must be a *real* arch-conservative if *he’s* happy about it!”

    Did anyone else catch EWTN’s website immediately after the news broke? They were reporting it within a minute or so, but the page with Cardinal Ratzinger’s bio – obviously laid-out beforehand – was headed “Pope Pius XIII”! I took a screen capture for posterity and when I refreshed my browser they’d fixed it. In fact I was secretly hoping that if – per impossible so I thought – Cdl. Ratzinger was elected he’d choose “Pius XIII” but he’s certainly done pretty well as Benedict XVI, eh?

    Ad multos annos!

  63. Sarah says:

    I was in high school at the time in English class, when our vice principal came on over the intercom and announced that we had a pope and he was Joseph Ratzinger, Benedict XVI. My class immediately got excited and started talking and celebrating, but our teacher, who was not Catholic and apparently not as excited as her mostly Catholic students, told us to settle down and we would get on with class. My friend who was in religion class with our lone Carmelite sister (in a habit), said that Sister exclaimed that the new pope would take all back pre-Vatican II. Wonder what Sister thinks now. I wish Benedict XVI many more years.

  64. Gina D. says:

    I was on my way to class through our student center, the JC Williams Center, at Franciscan University. Hundreds of students were packed into the center all watching the small TVs scattered throughout, anxiously awaiting the announcement! There was so much excited energy – even though it was quite silent. Just picture it! HUNDREDS of young Catholics! Classes and professors were at the mercy of this announcement. No one was concerned about being on time or if class was even going to happen! The sight was something to behold. They announced the Holy Father and everyone burst into cheers and applause. The local news was even there taping our reaction to the event and interviewed our University President, Fr. Terrence Henry, as soon as the announcement was made.

    Long life to the Pope!

  65. Immaculatae says:

    I was at work. I saw it on the widescreen tv out by the pool where I worked as a server.

  66. aussieannie says:

    Being down under in Australia we were in bed but we were expecting it to happen overnight. We left EWTN running in the lounge room and my guardian angel must have woke me at the right moment, I got up very, very early in the morning to take a peek down the hall to see if anything had happened and the balcony was being set up!!! Well, with a big shout, within 5 seconds or so, ALL the members of our family down to the littlest, were assembled in the lounge in absolute rapture waiting for the announcement…I’ll never forget it!

    Moments in history where I remember where I was?

    Princess Diana
    Election of Pope Benedict the 16th

  67. Erin says:

    I was in class at ND and the professor had asked those of us with laptops to refresh CNN frequently and interrupt the class if we saw white smoke.

  68. AM says:

    At a conference in Germany. A (German) colleague whose whife works for the dioceese of —– said there would be riots in the streets if he was elected. But at dinner he brought us a cellphone with the message on it. Most of the Catholics at the conference were overjoyed, A grin became fixed on my face for the rest of the evening; and for days afterward the word Benedict made it come back. Still does, actually. Deo gratias!

  69. Ellen says:

    I was at work obsessively watching the news channels on line. When I heard it was white smoke, I switiched to EWTN and when I saw it was Ratzinger, I said a big YES!!! My collegues all thought he was an eeeevil hardliner, but with some exceptions, they realize that he is a gentleman and a scholar.

  70. mysticalrose says:

    I was in my office at Notre Dame working on my computer and I quickly looked at a live feed on the internet and realized the white smoke was going up. So I ran across campus to the center where everyone was watching on the big screen (La Fortune for you domers). It was an amazing day!

  71. magistra says:

    I was between Latin classes in a diocesan school when the office interrupted classes with a live news feed. As the only TLM teacher in the system, I was hoping against hope to hear RATZINGER, and shouted with joy when against all likelihood it was announced. No one was surprised by shouts of joy from the Latin room, since it was usually noisy in my classes. I was not surprised by silence from the rest of the school, since the bishop was notoriously anti-TLM, and made no secret of this. What a glorious day! I still rejoice!

  72. surge says:

    Standing on a chair in the piazza, clapping and cheering Be-ne-DET-to!

  73. Thomas says:

    Thank you, Frank H.! (Hmm, does the exclamation point replace the period if a sentence ends excitedly after an abbreviation?

    Thank you, Frank H!

    I’ve never been able to find the Fox News coverage video, only CNN and NBC.

  74. RBrown, I distinctly remember the smoke being earlier than it would have been, had they burned the ballots at the end of the day’s last scrutiny (the chimney started smoking at about 1745, if I recall).

    I remember this because I received a few calls from folks asking whether I was in the square (I was not), and whether I could tell what color it was. I was working on a column, and was distracted from that work, but thought, “why are they burning ballots so early?” and was pretty sure it was because they had elected someone.

    The distinctness with which I remember this is no guarantee of my memory’s reliability, though :-)


  75. Richard says:

    Drinking in my Club, with a Catholic friend.

    We switched to champagne.

  76. Laura Lowder says:

    I was at my rented room, getting lunch during a class break at school. I turned on Fox News just as the white smoke was being announced. I froze – when the name “Josephum” was announced, I could hardly believe it – only knew of one “Joseph” among the cardinals, could it be, oh please let it be…


    and I feel onto my knees, hugging the corner post of my bed, and burst into tears.

  77. Gail F says:

    I was all by myself at home after having gone grocery shopping. I turned on the television because I knew it was about time for the smoke, but I thought it would take a lot longer to choose the new pope so I didn’t expect anything but the black smoke. But then it was white smoke! Or whitish. And the newscasters started talking about whether it was black or white. I was so excited. I was glued to the screen. And I remembered just enough Latin to understand the announcement. I got out my “Cardinal Ratzinger fan club” coffee mug to celebrate.

  78. tecumseh says:

    We were living in temporary accommodation as our house had been wrecked by a flood, I was watching the Vatican on the T.V. The announcement seemed immanent, the white smoke and the bells, but I had to dash to the hospital and get my wife when she finished work. We got back just in time for the Announcement we leapt for joy as the Cardinal said “Joseph”, I grabbed our yellow and white Vatican flag and hung it out the window of the apartment building…great day.

  79. John Fannon says:

    I was in London, for an evening meeting, but decided to visit Westminster Cathedral because my meeting wasn’t until 7:30. As I entered the Cathedral the bells were ringing so I guessed that there must be some news. Mass had just started with Bishop Longley the celebrant. After the Gospel, he proceeded to the pulpit and announced the good news. I felt such a wave of emotion. The right man for the job, and the right name. Perfect!

    Later in the evening the London Evening Standard came out with the headline ‘From hitler youth to Papa Razzi’ Typical, just typical of the British press!

  80. RMT says:

    I was in college at Franciscan, and had been out late the night before–I slept through the news, and
    couldn’t figure out what all the excitement was about when I rolled out of bed.


  81. Jenny says:

    I was a one year old Catholic at that time and didn’t fully understand the ramifications of what it would mean to have this pope or that pope elected. I fully realize it now and am just so grateful for the work of the Holy Spirit in those cardinals. What a blessing Pope Benedict is. What growth he has brought the Church in these 4 short years. I wish him many, many more. I just love him!
    I remember a few days later treating a patient who was a Nun (she doesn’t wear a habit) and when I told her I was happy about Pope Benedict and the fact that all the liberals seemed upset so he must be a good pick…. she just rolled her eyes and said “just you wait…he’ll be a transitional Pope.” I guess we know where she stood in all of this.

    I love reading all these comments, especially the ones who were not favorable towards the our Pope and have since had conversions of the heart. The Holy Spirit,indeed!

  82. TC Tampa says:

    I saw on a messageboard that there was “White Smoke”. I turned on Fox News and watched Father Z’s commentary of the great event. I have it on vhs. The Fox News video can be watched here:


  83. Jon says:

    From the Z-archive:

    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, “I guarantee it. It’s gonna be Ratzinger.”

    It was a warm day, and the 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.

    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 an 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. I tuned in just in time to hear Cardinal Medina make the announcement. I couldn’t help myself, tears ran down my cheeks.

  84. Jason says:

    The Newman Center at the University of Washington, Seattle. We had a tv with an antenna tuned to one of the network stations when we heard there was white smoke! then we saw our new Holy Father emerge to address the world. What a wonderful day it was. Habemus Papam!!

  85. Franzjosf says:

    I happened to have a television on, and when the smoke and bells started, I thought, “Already? It must be Ratzinger, but that would be two non-Italians in a row.” Then, Fr. Neuhouse (RIP) said predicted Card. Ratzinger, and Raymond Arroyo quickly said that EWTN was not announcing anything until it was confirmed. Then, the Holy Father appeared. What joy! Seminarians jumping for joy in St. Peter’s Square. How blest we are.

  86. Fenton says:

    Never will forget it.

    Driving in my car from Culpeper VA to Madison County VA listening to the broadcast. As I crested a hill on Route 29, God’s beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains appeared as the words “Habemus Papem…Ratzinger” were said. It was a magnificent event and a magnificent view!

  87. Jane says:

    I was at the library where I work. My boss, who is not Catholic, offered to switch on a small tv so I could watch. When I heard the name Josephus (I think that’s what I heard), I starting yelling and jumping up and down. My boss was very understanding, not knowing what all the fuss was about.
    I remember watching JPII’s funeral and thinking that Cardinal Ratzinger would make a wonderful pope. God Bless him!

  88. Anthony says:

    I was driving from school to church when I heard that the smoke had changed. I drove as fast as I could (bless me, Father, for I have sinned…) and made it to the church. The pastor was just going into the sacristy to ring the bells, as is custom, and he allowed me the honor of ringing the bells to celebrate the new Pope!

  89. Michelle Marie Romani says:

    I was at Mass. Frankly, I was a little miffed because I kept losing the WOAI signal (AM station from San Antonio) whil I was barrelling down the interstate to get to Mass at the local hospital chapel. I told my father to send me a text and leave a voice mail.

    During the homily, both the deacon and I got messages. We went into the sacristy (it’s not next to the altar and he was not serving) and as we retrieved our messages, we both did a high five. My dad did not spell Ratzinger right, but, all I needed was Rat and I knew it was him.

    My parochial vicar, who was celebrating the Mass, caught me grinning from ear to ear and he assumed that it was over. Before Mass ended, he led us in praying the Te Deum and afterwards, we gave him the news.

    Later on that evening, we celebrated by eating chicken!

    By the way, I loved Fr. Richard John Neuhaus’ take on the whole thing. His reaction was simply unforgettable. And, I am a huge fan of Chris Alteiri. Chris, you are the best Papal Mass commentator. I really enjoy experiencing the Papal Mass through your commentary!

  90. Liz says:

    I was but a wee freshman at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, nearly nineteen years of age. Ironically, I was in a “religious studies” class (I use that term liberally, given that we are seemingly at the epicenter of “intellectual thought” here in Dane County, Wisconsin). A classmate of mine received a text message from his brother announcing “Habemus Papam.” Four of us who regularly frequented the Catholic student center on campus and were also in this class together proceeded to stand up simultaneously and leave class, much to our professor’s chagrin. I can still remember her gaping mouth as we exited her class….we felt bad leaving early, but we certainly wanted to witness history and find the closest TV to watch the announcement!

    We barreled down from the west side of campus to the east side (our Catholic student center, is on the far east edge of the university). On the way, we saw a friend on the other side of the street – I can still remember shouting “Habemus Papam!” to him as we continued to run to catch the announcement and first papal blessing. We were so excited the whole way, guessing and speculating about who could be our new Holy Father, exchanging names of various “papabili” that we had heard about throughout the days following John Paul’s death.

    We arrived at the student center just as Cardinal Medina began his message on the balcony announcing to us that we had a new Holy Father. We all huddled around one solitary computer that was streaming the NBC News live broadcast. When the Cardinal midway through his address the name “Iosephum,” I knew immediately who had been selected – Cardinal Ratzinger! There was a mixed bag of emotions in the room – I can still remember one person’s rather startled reaction at his election. I think many in the room didn’t believe that the cardinals would elect a rather “conservative” (I really can’t stand that term) new pontiff. On the other hand, I was so happy – I had watched him preach the magnificent funeral homily just days before and truly believed after hearing his words that he would, God willing, make a most beautiful successor to the late John Paul.

    Eventually I had to depart for my part-time job off campus, but not without calling friends to share in the news of our new Holy Father, no longer feeling orphaned after having lost John Paul. It remains in my mind a beautiful day! :-)

  91. Thomas says:

    I remember the Fox news coverage of the event. It was the first time i ever heard of Father Z.

  92. Sean Caron says:

    I was watching you on television!

    I just watched the clip at the link above, and even today, 4 years later, it is one of the most moving events of my life. I do remember John Paul the Great’s election, and of course John Paul I, but I was a child and didn’t really understand what I was seeing (no FOX News, then, but I do remember where I was, both times).

    Clearly, there is no organization in the world that understands the public transfer of leadership better than the Catholic Church. The ceremony, the pageantry, the dramatic tension – all better than any entertainment the secular media could produce for any amount of money.

    The Joy of that particular day still moves me to tears, just watching the clip again here today.

    Happy anniversary, Holy Father! and many, many more!

  93. RBrown says:

    Somehow I posted on the wrong thread:

    RBrown, I distinctly remember the smoke being earlier than it would have been, had they burned the ballots at the end of the day’s last scrutiny (the chimney started smoking at about 1745, if I recall).
    The distinctness with which I remember this is no guarantee of my memory’s reliability, though :-)
    Comment by Chris Altieri

    You might be right. When I turned on the TV, however, they were saying that it was longer than expected from the time they had entered for the afternoon session.

    The first ballot already having taken place the day before, Apr 19th began with the 2d and 3d ballots in the morning session. BXVI was elected on the 1st afternoon ballot (3rd of the day, 4th overall). I think the 5:45 smoke would have been early for the second afternoon ballot, but it was late for the first when in fact he was elected.
    Comment by RBrown

  94. another Sarah says:

    I do remember that day! It was raining in my small town and I was a senior in high school. Two of us were out delivering meals-on-wheels, and one of the homes had the t.v. on and the news playing. We saw the smoke and the kind old lady said we could stay and watch the announcement with her. I had no idea who Cardinal Ratzinger was, but I was excited to have a pope again! The two of us meal deliverers returned to our public high school where it was still the lunch break, skipping and shouting “Habemus papem!”

    I had only recently, with the death and funeral of JPII, realized that being a Catholic is a big deal. That realization has only continued to grow since then! I feel like I’ve been waking up with the Church in the last few years. And I thank God daily for our dear Holy Father!

  95. RBrown says:

    A better story was when JPI was elected. I was living in Wichita at the time and had no TV. When I heard a pope was elected, I headed toward the the TV section of the dept store. As I’m trying to watch to see who was elected, a salesman was trying to sell me a TV.

  96. Ygnacia says:

    My son was baptised that great day!

  97. Megan says:

    I was in Chemistry class my junior year at a public high school. My teacher actually stopped class, turned on the TV, and let us watch for a few minutes before resuming class. A pleasant surprise, to be sure :) Ad multos annos!!

  98. AAJD says:

    I was in a room with a number of theologians at the most liberal “Catholic” university in Canada, and as soon as I heard “Josephum” I did a quick mental search and came up empty on other cardinals bearing that name, so I excitedly knew that “Ratzinger” was coming down the line, and I lept for joy when it did. Given the nature of the place I was in, I was alone in my joy: the rest were (a) bewildered; (b) indifferent; or, in the case of the ringleader of the feminist cabal, pitched into a fury that caused her to flounce furiously from the room. I was hopeful that she was about to defenestrate herself along with her friends–they did not–and I dined out for months afterwards on my Schadenfreude!

  99. swiftavila says:

    That was possibly the most difficult day of my sophomore year of college, for personal and medical reasons, but hearing “Habemus Papam” is such a happy memory!

    I miraculously walked past the big screen TV in the student center shortly after the white smoke appeared. It was amazing how all the Catholics in the room managed to find each as we glued our eyes to the screen. When I heard “Josephum” I was excited, but also surprised that the expected candidate had been chosen.

    Then I ran into the cafeteria to break the news to my friend Steve, who had been so wrapped up in the conclave that he made a NCAA-style bracket of the cardinals. I yelled “Habemus Papam!” jumping up and down. Then I pranked him with a report that Cardinal Tettamanzi was elected and had taken the name “Sylvester.” Don’t worry, then I told him the truth. Our non-Catholic friends had a good laugh at us. :-)

  100. q7swallows says:

    Remember it vividly. I was driving the 15-seater north on Hwy 101 between Betteravia & Stowell Exits next to the strawberry fields on the Central Coast of CA in order to pick up the kids from Latin class. As the announcement came over the radio, I hit the steering wheel so hard for joy, triumph, and thanksgiving that the horn went off. And that long, drawn out WUH-WHOOOO that was screamed out the open window for that entire mile was mine. It was almost beyond miraculous to me that the teacher of my beleaguered professor-founder-boss had been named pope.

    At Latin class, the teacher paused the class to hear the announcement on the TV and all the kids were eager to know also — even the non-Catholics.

    We had an intensely joyful family celebration that night.

  101. Rose says:

    I was in my office and my secretary in hers, when she turned the radio on. Someone had phoned her to tell her we had a new Pope. I stood at the credenza behind her desk, she remained seated and we listened to the radio together for quite a while. The telephone rang but neither of us answered it. I cheered when the news was announced. My husband phoned and this time I took the call-he had seen the news on television. I can still see my secretary’s smile-she did not really care or know who Cardinal Ratzinger was but she was just happy we had a Pope. How Catholic that is- we feel orphaned when we do not have a Pope.

  102. Judy says:

    The kids and I were running errands and fortuitously stopped by our parish office. We don’t watch much TV and wouldn’t have known if we’d been at home. The secretaries were watching the coverage on TV and invited us into the conference room to watch with them. It was a joyful moment for all of us, and I am so happy my children were able to hear that announcement. As my now-8-year-old remembers, “We rushed to the TV and watched the new pope come out on the balcony, and everyone was really excited about him.” Our pastor had put up a photograph by the next morning’s Mass.

  103. It was about 3am over here and I received a text from my mum saying ‘white smoke!’ (I still have it saved even though I have changed phones a couple of times).
    I woke my wife up who was 39 weeks preg with our first. I near cried when he walked out and that footage still gives me goosebumps.
    our first born was given Benedict as a middle name in honor of our new Pope and he is a constant reminder of this pontificate… beautifully stubborn and hard to put to rest!!

  104. Kevin V. says:

    I was at work, on a smoke break outside, talking to my wife on the phone. She had EWTN on and she held the phone up to the speaker when they came out to announce the name. I remember hearing \”Joseph Cardinal Romanum Ratzinger\” Or something along those lines and just praising God! I was so afraid some loose canon leftist was going to be elected, though I suppose I should trust more in the Holy Spirit.

  105. Michael says:

    In my car, racing home from work to catch the accouncement on TV. I didn’t make it however and had to settle for hearing it on the radio about 30 seconds before I pulled into my driveway!

  106. joy says:

    My husband called me at work to tell me the smoke was turning white. It was lunchtime, and I was alone in the office. I streamed EWTN in time for the announcement. The cardinal who made the announcement seemed to enjoy keeping everyone in suspense for the few seconds pause until he said \’Ratzinger!\’ I jumped up and down in excitement, and then phoned back my husband, and next my mother to share the amazingly wonderful news.

    Ad multos multos annos, Papa Bene!!!!

  107. Sean Gallagher says:

    I am a reporter for a diocesan newspaper in the U.S. The election happened on a Tuesday, which is our deadline day. And we got first word of it around 11:00 a.m., which is right at the height of our deadline day.

    One of my fellow reporters had found a Web site that allowed you to have an ongoing Web cam feed of the chimney on the Sistine Chapel. (He’d tell me when a bird would fly by…). Around 11, I heard him say, ‘I think we’ve got white smoke.’

    Then we gathered around a TV and watched history being made. Since it took a while for everything to unfold, I was proofing pages while standing there.

    But once the announcement was made, everything we had planned for several of the pages had to be scrapped immediately.

    An hour or two later, I kind of wondered out loud, ‘I wonder what the leaders of the religious communities based here think about this?’ From his office next door to my desk, I heard my editor say, ‘Find out!’

    Our paper is weekly, but that day, I felt like I was working for a daily. And it felt good.

    That night, my family and I got togther with a fellow reporter and his wife and celebrated and drank some nice German wine. (We wanted to get some Benedictine, but it was *way* too expensive.)

  108. Sean Gallagher says:

    One more thing.

    Soon after I learned that there was white smoke, I called my wife, who was at home with our two young sons. When she picked up, all I said to her was, ‘We’ve got white smoke.’ She said, ‘Oh,’ then paused for a second and said, “OH!”

    She soon hung up and took the boys downstairs to watch the proceedings on TV.

  109. Marcin says:

    I was at work literally glued to EWTN feed since early morning. In the hallway I met a Catholic woman saying: “Just not Ratzinger! It would be a horrible step back”. Oh, well. She did not spoiled my day anyway and I could not hold myself throughout. What a day it was, and still is, so we can render glory to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, both now and ever unto the ages of ages. Amen.

  110. FWC says:

    My wife was teaching 7/9th grade religion at our parish school that year – and of course made sure to see that the TV was on in case the white smoke came up during the school day – so she made sure her students would witness this – which of course was the first Conclave in their lifetimes (and then she’d email me to pull up a news channel on the computer at my office)

  111. Helen Donnelly says:

    I was at the office. Fortunately, my boss had a television in his office, and I was able to hear the blessed news along with the rest of the world. I lept off my chair and pumped my fist…heart beating like a drum. What a great moment.

  112. irishgirl says:

    I was in my car on my day off from work. For some reason that day I didn’t go to my usual daily Mass out of town-said by a VERY ‘traditional’ priest. I had the classical music station I usually listen to on the radio, when the announcer said that the news came over their wire service that the white smoke was seen and the bells heard, announcing the election.

    Luckily my windows were rolled up, because I started yelling, HABEMUS PAPAM! HABEMUS PAPAM!….and I was also lucky that I wasn’t at any stoplights, because people would have thought I was going nuts! I slapped the steering wheel with both hands in joy, and raised one fist in jubiliation!

    I was going to a bank that I knew had a TV set on. When I got there, the volume was turned down, but I could hear a little bit of what was said on CNN. I remember my heart was pounding, wondering who our new Holy Father would be. I didn’t quite hear Cardinal Medina’s announcement; but when Cardinal Ratzinger came out onto the balcony, and the TV graphic showed the name ‘Benedict XVI’, I whispered in astonishment [and in joy], ‘It’s Ratzinger…’ [couldn’t really yell in a bank!] Some of the employees and customers turned away in disgust, making snide comments. I thought to myself, ‘Well, too bad for you….I’m HAPPY!’

    I went home after hearing the news repeated on the radio, and I either called the coordinator of the TLM in Utica, or else she called me….whoever called first, we both rejoiced!

    Ad multos annos, Papa Benedicto!

  113. Steve P in Bethesda, Md. says:

    On April 20, 2005, I was running a day-long conference in my professional field. As speakers did their presentations through the morning, *I* was checking online news sources for updates from Rome. The news of Cardinal Ratzinger’s election came shortly before noon. So when I dismissed the delegates for lunch I was able to say, “For those of you who have been following the story, the white smoke has appeared over the Sistine Chapel.” The hubbub in the room abated. “The cardinals have elected Joseph Ratzinger pope, and he has chosen the name Benedict XVI.” A gratifyingly audible gasp could be heard in the room!

    God has been good to the church! Ad multos annos!

  114. Daniel Latinus says:

    I got up early to see the results of the first ballot. No election. I went to work, and went about he day’s business. I had only been at this account for a little over a year, and I still did’t know too many people. I logged onto the internet about noontime, and discovered that Cardinal Ratzinger had been elected. I was both surprised and pleased, because I didn’t think Cardinal Ratzinger was electable. I shared the news with a fellow I knew was a Catholic. He sounded like he knew already, but he just scurried off about his business. When I told my co-worker, his attitude was “oh, that’s nice.” (At my previous account, there were a lot of Catholics, and there would have been a lot of discussion.)

    I later was able to see a rebroadcast of EWTN’s coverage of the event with Raymond Arroyo and the late Fr. Richard John Neuhaus. Arroyo’s reaction reminded me of a sports announcer announcing the winning homerun at a ball game.

    God bless and keep our Holy Father. May the next conclave be long in comng.

  115. don Jeffry says:

    My experience was filmed!

    Best, don Jeffry

  116. Will says:

    I remember it like it was yesterday. This may sound a bit off-color, but I was just stepping into the shower when the radio said that there was a crowd in St Peters square, and that there was some debate about what color the smoke was.
    I shut of the water, wrapped a towel around myself and ran to my bedroom to switch on the TV. I caught it just as NBC showed the great bells beginning to twitch, but before they began to ring.
    I called my mother and said “Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum, habemus Papam!” and told her to find a TV, pronto. Then my Methodist brother-in-law called me to make sure I was watching. We both cheered when the Cardinal said the name Josephum, sure that Cardinal Ratzinger was the new Pope.
    After the blessing, I finally was able to calm down enough to get dressed, and my next considered act was to hang the Vatican flag out on the front porch.

    That was a happy, happy day. Viva il Papa!

    Finally, I’d like to thank those who posted the Fox video with Fr. Z. Watching it brought tears of joy to my eyes and goose-bumps to my skin all over again.

  117. Mary S says:

    I was in senior year of high school and had only been serious about being Catholic for a few months. I was in a purgatorial Pre-Algebra Honors class and we had TVs in all the rooms for some reason so the news was playing and that’s how we saw it. I didn’t know much about conclaves (well it was the first in my lifetime) so when an African or Asian cleric stepped out, I briefly thought he was the new Pope… then I realized he was just announcing. I had been reading the papers, so I had heard of Cardinal Ratzinger and thought, “I’d been hoping it was him!” I’ve gotten to know him a bit better since then.

  118. AlwaysCatholic says:

    I was living in Aruba at the time and a friend called my cell phone to warn me to get home from the beach because she had a feeling that this was to be the day. This friend correctly picked the last two Popes elections also!! My apt was 5 blocks from the beach but something told me to pull into the Internet Cafe on my way home. Thank the Lord, I did.

    I walked in and jumped on a computer next to a young man who was already on a website following the Papal election. “Hurry, hurry”, he said to me in a strong German accent. I went directly to the same website and we sat side by side watching the results. Then the greatest thing happened. As the announcement was being made I was silently rooting for Card. Ratzinger hoping that the the Holy Spirit had arrived ahead of me and that the miracle of the Church continued… (LOL) The announcement started with his first name of course, and I turned toward my German friend and he towards me and simultaneously we cried out RATZINGER!!! We jumped up hugging and crying and shouting Deo gratias!! My new friend gave me a kiss on both cheeks and said, I must call my family now. I asked where he came from in Germany and he said, Bavaria and winked. When he got off the phone, ( I stayed on the Internet not wanting to miss a thing!) he came over and tapped me on the shoulder. He handed me a rose.

    The young woman’s sister had just had a baby in the wee hours of the morning and she had picked up roses for her sister. The young woman, also a Catholic was very excited about the new Pope and was very happy for me to have a rose to commemorate the day. Little did she know that I had been making a Novena to Sainte Therese, the Little Flower for two years for a Ratzinger miracle when the time came. I accepted the rose graciously, smiling up to Heaven because I ALWAYS get my rose when she answers my prayers. I said Good Wishes to my friend as he left and exchanged pleasantries and emails.

    As I stayed on for a short time, the young woman called her sister at the hospital and spoke very excitably in her native language of Papiamento. I could only understand a few words but I knew it was about the Pope. When she got off the phone she came over to me with tears in her eyes. Luckily, she also spoke English as most locals do there and I asked her if something was wrong and she said oh no, everything was completely right. She leaned over and said, ” I prayed to Sainte Therese also for a healthy baby for my sister, because my sister is dying from cancer during her pregnancy. I sat back with the wind knocked out of my sails. She explained to me that her family wanted her sister and her husband not to have the baby because they thought it would speed up the cancer. Her sister chose LIFE instead. I was still speechless at that moment. She told me that she had just had a conversation with her brother-in law at the hospital. I asked her if everything was ok. She said again, oh yes, my nephew’s name is Benedict Joseph!! I smiled and sort of laughed at the news and told her that was great. I asked about her sister and she said, “Oh yes, that’s the best news!” I expected to hear a miraculous story of healing. She told me that after she gave birth, she asked for the priest. A priest was on the floor below and came within minutes to the room. On that day, Benedict Joseph was baptized a Roman Catholic and his mother Miriam’s Confession was heard, and she was given Extreme Unction and Viaticum in the Traditional rubrics and died minutes later with her husband and baby in her arms. Her sister said, “only Sainte Therese could have pulled that off!!”

    Part of my speechlessness was due to the fact that it was not the ending I had expected, but it was a beautiful faith that I was witnessing. Everyday I pray for our Holy Father, his namesake in Aruba and for the soul of baby Benedict Joseph’s mother Miriam. I pray for the family that their love of God and their beautiful Catholic faith continues to grow as an example to others. As for my German friend, we email twice a month and he tells me that his wife now has a devotion to Sainte Therese because of Miriam and her family. What a Church!!! What a Pope!!!

  119. Rafael Cresci says:

    I was inside the Pastoral Center for the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, visiting their brand new installations. In fact, that was an excuse: I was sat in the trees or by the Campus’ pilotis when someone I knew came to me saying that there was white smoke.
    This is when I went fast to the Pastoral Center (under the brand new modernoic church they built in place of the old gymnasium) as I knew there was a TV set inside there (the snack bar was on ESPN and nobody there was really interested in any Papal election at all).

    The reactions on the announcement were pretty massive in the line of: “what? a conservative? Oh my God, it can’t be, we’re all lost! That cannot be true!” (by one of the communist-progressist girls inside the room – she ended up crying a minute later after realizing that her days were to come to an end…).

    The only ones happy with the nomination were me and a sister in habit (the other sister on that pastoral center was too much modernist or “jesuitical” for that).

    The jesuit priest that was in charge of the Pastoral Center and the University Ministry (except the Chaplaincy, as he had been already warned and got a hard time by the cardinal due to sloppy indigenous/”native-american” liturgy), was so astonished and lost I should have taken a picture if I had a camera at that time.

    In honor of the election, and after the Apostolic Blessing where obviously I and the inhabited-sister were the only ones that knew any latin to reply to it at all, I went to Subway and ate a full Club Sandwich. No alcohol is allowed inside the Campus, so the toast with our other catholic friends I found on the pilotis was done with Coke :-)

  120. JAR says:

    I was putting a down payment towards the purchase of my current home. I remember listening on the radio as I was on my way. It happened to be a simulcast of ABC news with Charlie Gibson hosting and Fr. Richard McBrien providing commentary who was clearly disappointed with the outcome.

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