19 April 2005: Benedict XVI elected

Today, 19 April, is the 13th anniversary of the election of Benedict XVI.

I’ll bet you remember where you were.

How time flies.

I was with FoxNews at the time.  Here’s the coverage…

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    I believe the greatest achievements of Pope Benedict XVI were likely Summorum Pontificum and Anglicanorum Coetibus.

  2. James P says:

    Listening at 18:16, it sounds like you got a promotion, Cardinal Zuhlsdorf. :P

  3. mikeinmo says:

    Yes, I remember I was working in the vegetable garden. My wife came out of the house and told me there was a new pope. I told her that I bet it is Ratzinger. We watched together on TV as he was announced, and made his first appearance as Pope. What a great day!

    Yes, I remember where I was in 2013 as well. We were watching events unfold on TV when the next Pope was selected. When I heard that he was a Jesuit, I looked at my wife and said “Uh, Oh.”

    I look forward to experiencing the joy of April 19, 2005 again, some time soon.

  4. Sportsfan says:

    One of the first people I saw after hearing the news was a Franciscan nun in a polyester pant suit circa 1974. She was acting like her dog had just died.
    It still gives me a warm feeling just thinking about it.

  5. JustaSinner says:

    Landscaping a big project that day…
    Was hoping for Cardinal Arinze; he’s not a quitter.

  6. adriennep says:

    Oh yes, I remember. At that moment he came out on the balcony, I knew I could no lionger avoid it: I would be forever lifted up into the Catholic Church. Cardinal Ratzinger had won my heart and mind with his homily at John Paul II’s funeral, and I had been rooting for the election of this brilliant but kindly man. And there he was, smiling and waving me in, after all the heartache of losing that Polish playwright as il Papa. I knew this was a message from God that I had found what I had been looking for after 52 years. And so it came to pass.

    I am not going to say what I was going through seeing the next guy come out on said papal balcony scowling and frozen like Lurch. Suffice to say that having had one moment of transcendence and a miracle of conversion, I only wish to pray and work so that others can know the same joy.

  7. Thomas S says:

    I used to watch this video often. It gave me great pleasure. I haven’t watched it in 5 years now and never will again. Bitter reminder that what we’re going through now was completely avoidable.

  8. frjim4321 says:

    Sometimes you respect a brother priest if for no other reason than he is a brother priest.
    On that basis, I would certainly be there for him and treat him with tenderness and gentleness if I had the opportunity to do so.
    At our Communal Penance Service six weeks ago there was a brother priest here; one of the ones that came over for dessert after individual confession.
    There were about 8 of us there … and there was typical clergy talk. And I said, “You know Dave (maybe not his real name), we have very different styles. But I respect the he11 out of you. You work your a$$ off, and every mass you say, even on weekdays, you are in the confessional for 30 minutes before and everyone knows it and many go. You visit a guy from your parish, the nephew of a guy in my parish, who is in prison 70 miles away once a month. And since it was murder, you will probably go for the rest of your life. You would drive 70 miles, every month, for as long as you are able. Amazing! And even though you and I are 25 miles apart, I know that if I had an emergency, I could call you and you would be here within the hour. You really have my respect.” He seemed gratified to have the respect of a guy who might be seen as a bit of a cowboy.
    That’s sort of how I feel about B16. I don’t necessarily agree with him, but I respect him. (I am not a person who uses the word “respect” loosely.) I’m pretty sure he was wrong about Dignitas Connubii (which he probably ghost wrote for his predecessor) and Ordinatio Sacerdotalis (same) but I would be pleased to break bread with him and defer prudently to his eminence. I could see JR driving 70 miles to visit a convict once a month for as long as he could. I have to respect that.

  9. Sawyer says:

    I was on faculty at a Catholic high school. When the news spread you should have heard the religion teachers immediately make disparaging remarks about Cardinal Ratzinger and bemoan the future of the Church. They weren’t quite as stunned and angry as they were when Donald Trump was elected President, but it was close.

  10. Midwest St. Michael says:

    Oh I can remember. I remember when Cardinal Medina announced it in… Latin? Italian?

    I was in our lunch room at work. When Cardinal Medina said “Joseph” (my heart skipped a beat) – hesitated – and then he said “Ratzinger” I did a fist-pump and said “Yes!”.

    A guy sitting there looked at me and, I am sure, thought I was a nut. ;^)

  11. HighMass says:

    I too am looking forward to the joy of April 19, 2005!

    We need that so much in the church today.

  12. Grant M says:

    I remember where I was. I was much poorer then than I am now, living alone in a cold flat, and sleeping on the sofa in a sleeping bag, because that was more comfortable than my bed. My radio-alarm woke me before dawn with “Morning Report”. “The headlines: A conservative cardinal becomes the new Pope of the Catholic Church”. “I know who they mean by that”, I said to myself.

    I made the short bus ride to Fr A’s house, where the retired priest said a low TLM every weekday at 7:15. “You know we have a new Pope”, I said to an acquaintance. “Who?” She asked. “Ratzinger.” “Oh wow! That’ll put the cat among the pigeons.” In retrospect, more like the sheep or the shepherd among the wolves.

    I served the Mass, so I was close enough to the priest during the Canon to hear him whisper: “…una cum famulo tuo Papa nostro Benedicto…”

  13. youngcatholicgirl says:

    Pope Benedict’s election is, I believe, my earliest genuine memory. I was told that we had a new pope
    and remember looking at the computer screen (Fox News, of all sources!). There was a picture on it, and five-year-old little me didn’t know what she was supposed to be seeing. Now, 13 years later, I know exactly what that picture was, and can still see it in my mind’s eye: Newly-elected Pope Benedict XVI with his hands raised!

  14. Kathleen10 says:

    That was as exhilarating to watch now as it was then. This time though, I cried a bit more. It’s too beautiful, all the people, the hopeful people, running to St. Peter’s, the smoke, the bells, the thrill of “habemus papam”. I don’t get weepy, but how could you not, it’s amazing. When I heard Josephus, I had dared hope, and hope was rewarded.
    This time watching it though, has such a bittersweet emotion attached to it. Will we ever feel the way we did then. One thing I did not feel that day, was fear.

  15. Diane says:

    Thank you so much Father, for putting this on. I have enjoyed watching it so much and hearing your comments. What a special time that was.

  16. jameeka says:

    I was interviewed by the local TV station on the steps while going into the Portland, Oregon Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception that evening for Mass.

    Was I thrilled? Yes, indeed, although there was the expected liberal unease in the Pacific Northwest amongst a few priests ( some resigned shortly afterward..)

    Great joy, and we were all a little surprised the election happened more quickly than expected. I still think the Holy Spirit intervened IN THIS CASE.

  17. AlanLins says:

    When Cardinal Ratzinger’s name was announced, I felt joy I am unable to describe. I knew the Catholic Church was in good hands.

  18. maternalView says:

    In our house we were so happy. We couldn’t stop smiling. This election made the passing of John Paul II a little easier.

  19. Sword40 says:

    And that just proves to me that everyone can change. Back in the 1970’s and early 80’s, Ratzinger was known as a Liberal amongst us conservatives. Yes, I was pleased that Benedict VI was elected and VERY sad that he gave up. Things will change again and again and again. Always have …. always will. But GOD’s will be done.

  20. Ellen says:

    I was out running errands and when I went in my parents told me about it, and they said that the most interesting priest was on and commenting, and “his name was Father John Zul something” and I yelled “Father Z”!!!
    I miss Pope Benedict fiercely. My co-teacher in RCIA says she wants Cardinal Sarah to be the next pope. Me too.

  21. iPadre says:

    I was running the backhoe at my parent’s home. And my mother called out and told me to come in quickly. The fervor of the crowds, the smoke, the bells, this video still makes me very emotional. It’s amazing. We are Catholic!!!

  22. JesusFreak84 says:

    I hadn’t heard of this blog until a few years into Benedict’s too-short papacy, and I didn’t watch TV besides EWTN and anime. I was in college at the time, and since I took a lot of night classes that ran until 10:35pm, I was actually asleep when the announcement was made ^_^;;; I woke up and saw a friend on MSN Messenger had changed his “status” to “Habemus Papem!” (pardon my spelling,) so I pounded ewtn.com into my browser with a force that somehow *didn’t* break the keyboard, and I was hoping for the Prefects of either CDF or CDW, (the latter would have been hilarious because I KNOW the US media would keep calling him “African-American” by accident for months, at least =-p ) but when I saw it was Cardinal Ratzinger, I literally did a happy dance and scream in my dorm room and ran around the house, (I lived in a house with other female members of the college’s “Catholic Studies Club,”) yelling, “It’s Ratzinger! It’s Ratzinger!”

    Fast forward to early 2013, I was alone in an apartment that was unfurnished besides my bed, (mattresses sitting on the floor,) and a $15 chair and a $20 table for my computer waking up for another day at a software developer job I hated, (but still the best job I’ve had to date…) and read that he was resigning. I felt like what little good my world still had ended that day… It’s stayed that way ever since…

  23. Unwilling says:

    I remember I was watching that very commentary.
    Watching it now, I remain bewildered by the subsequent retirement. We was robbed!

    The conspiracy part of me was puzzling this morning over the Latin: Habemus Papem. Was it a hint, a clue? Who knew? What?

  24. chantgirl says:


    And these guys were waiting for him. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I feel less and less comfortable about Benedict living under the watchful eye of those who plotted against him and opposed him during his papacy.

  25. jilly4life says:

    Indeed, I remember where I was. I was a freshman going to my symposium class at a certain university on the plains of Minnesota. There were some benefits to going to a Catholic college, as the bells rang for an hour, and it was glorious.

  26. Papal Fan says:

    At that time, I was in my last year of middle school and I had no idea who or what a pope was, despite being raised in a catholic family.

    Even though I missed Benedict XVI’s election, I would eventually begin to learn about him online through Wikipedia and through the influence of my catholic high school. Raymond Arroyo’s The World Over and Rome Reports on EWTN were the only sources in which I heard the Pope speak. I distinctly remember going to my high school’s auditorium to hear Benedict XVI talk from a pre-recorded T.V. segment when H.H. first arrived in the United States.

    It wasn’t until I went on YouTube during the late 2000’s, that I found Benedict XVI’s Habemus Papam. I remember feeling so happy the first time I saw it. I would eventually see it so many times. :)

    I’m still waiting for an Habemus Papam to give me as much joy as it did when I saw Benedict XVI’s election…

  27. Amateur Scholastic says:

    I don’t remember watching it — I wasn’t Catholic at the time, and had no idea I’d ever become one.

    But a high Anglican friend told me on MSN Messenger. He was absolutely delighted. Soon after, he converted to the True Faith, and set the example for me to follow a few years later.

    I remember the vitriol the MSM (as we now call it) sprayed at him. I was disgusted. I couldn’t see what he’d done to deserve it. But the liars moved me a little closer to Holy Mother Church. Why does everyone hate him so much, I thought? Now I know.

    It’s strange to think back to a time before I’d heard of Vatican II, or read Pascendi, or knew what a saint was; when I thought Kant was one of the good guys, and walked around day after day in an almost-certain state of mortal sin. I did imagine going to confession though, without much pleasure.

    And of course I remember 2013, being a Catholic and well on my way to becoming a trad by that point. One effect of Francis — as well as making me fully trad — is that I try and pay far less attention to the external government of the Church these days. In a way, it doesn’t matter. Why should I care about these things (much) when I have her sacraments, her teaching, the prayers of her saints, the indwelling of the Holy Trinity, and the knowledge that one day — if I avoid mortal sin — I will see God in heaven, and enjoy the company of the saints forever?

  28. Carrie says:

    Wow, time goes fast! I was sitting at a parish staff meeting when someone received a phone call with the news. The array of intense reactions/emotions around the table was something to behold! The wisdom of the Holy Spirit is stunning in every age…

  29. Suburbanbanshee says:

    I remember. I was home from work because I was sick as a dog, projectile vomit and all. I got some sleep with the TV still on, and suddenly there was white smoke! So much joy!

    Papa B did not fail us. He made a rational decision based on his capabilities, and based on a lack of sufficient power base. He also preserved a necessary option for future popes. (Although subsequent events have shown it to be a last resort option.) What happened next is a good demonstration of democracy’s weaknesses — the more worthy cardinals were too busy to campaign or form secret coalitions, and too loyal to make plans for years ahead. God helps those who help themselves; the Holy Spirit is not always going to swoop in.

  30. Fr. Reader says:

    I was there, among the crowd.

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