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New Pope Elected; Future of the Catholic Church

Aired April 19, 2005 - 20:00   ET


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everybody, and welcome to all of our viewers around the world joining us on CNN International.
Tonight, a swift decision by Catholic cardinals: A conservative pope will now lead the church.


ZAHN (voice-over): The signal to a waiting world. The Catholic Church has a new leader.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cardinal Ratzinger.


ZAHN: The power behind the throne now takes on the throne itself.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's full of life, full of love.

ZAHN: Will he bring new ideas or new divisions?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I thought it would be great if there would be like some changes there. And I think, with him, that's not going to happen.

ZAHN: Tonight, Benedict XVI and the future of the Catholic Church.


ZAHN: We want to remind you all that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger's name was on everybody's short list of possibilities, so his election was not a great surprise, but how fast it happened was.

It took barely a day and only a few rounds of voting.


ZAHN (voice-over): It's about 10 minutes before noon, Vatican time. Black smoke rises from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel, indicating that the second and third ballots were inconclusive. No one at St. Peter's Square is surprised. People drift away, only to gather once again late in the afternoon, expecting more black smoke. And, at about 10 minutes to 6:00, that's what at first seems to appear. Actually, it's kind of gray, or could it be white? The smoke keeps coming, and keeps getting whiter. The crowd is convinced and begins cheering. But, wait, the Vatican's bells are supposed to confirm that a new pope has been elected. But what seems like forever...


ZAHN: And then there was a smile and a wave and a few words from the new pope. Pope Benedict's 10-minute appearance that we later saw on the balcony overlooking St. Peter's Square tells us nothing about how his papacy will eventually play out.

But the words of Cardinal Ratzinger may tell us a lot about where he might take the church. As the dean of the College of Cardinals, Ratzinger was center stage in the days after John Paul II's death, which is not a bad place for what, in hindsight, might be called a little discrete campaigning. He said this during his sermon at the pope's funeral: None of us can ever forget how, on the last Easter Sunday of his life, the Holy Father, marked by suffering, came once more to the window of the Apostolic Palace and one last time gave us his blessing.

Ratzinger went on: We can be sure that our beloved pope is standing today at the window of the house of his father, that he sees us and blesses us.

Well, remarkably, that sermon was interrupted by applause more than 10 times. Cardinal Ratzinger preached another sermon yesterday, just before the conclave began. He defended the church's dogma that there are unchanging truths and bluntly criticized what he called the relativism of today's modern times, a sermon that, in retrospect, also sounds like a campaign speech.

Well, just like Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict came of age during World War II, but they were on opposite sides of the conflict. And years later, John Paul chose Cardinal Ratzinger for a crucial role in his papacy.


ZAHN (voice-over): As a cardinal, Joseph Ratzinger headed one of the most important departments in the Vatican bureaucracy for more than 20 years. It's called the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. It's the office that three-and-a-half centuries ago was in charge of the Inquisition.

He was born in German in 1927, son of a Bavarian policeman. When the Nazis came to power, like most German boys, he was enrolled in the Hitler Youth. In the war, he served in an anti-aircraft unit, but says he never fired a shot in anger. He became a priest and then a cardinal in 1977.

Cardinal Ratzinger forcefully guarded the absolutes of the church, whether you're talking about theology or morality. In yesterday's sermon, just before the conclave began, he argued, here are some truths that don't change, that can't be compromised. Over the years, he's butted heads with theologians and teachers, silencing dissent, shutting down debate over issues such as homosexuality and the ordination of women.

The cardinal's critics accused him of helping Pope John Paul II put brakes on some of the reforms undertaken at the Second Vatican Council, to which Ratzinger was an adviser. He was considered a liberal back then, but his thinking changed in the turmoil of the student revolts of the late 1960s.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger has been described by church-watchers as a conservative's conservative. It's a reputation that follows him as he assumes his new job, pope of the Roman Catholic Church.


ZAHN: And joining me now from Rome tonight, CNN analyst John Allen, the Rome correspondent for "The National Catholic Reporter." John also happens to be the author of a very timely book on Cardinal Ratzinger, "The Vatican's Enforcer of the Faith."

Guess that will be good for book sales, John.

Let's talk a little bit about all the secrecy surrounding the election of a pope. You're wired into the Vatican more than any other reporter. Do you have any insights as to why Cardinal Ratzinger was elected pope?


Of course, the cardinals were asked by the new pope, Benedict XVI, to remain tonight in the Casa Santa Marta in order to share dinner together. They will have a mass tomorrow morning at 9:00 in the Sistine Chapel, which we understand is going to be carried live by Vatican television, and therefore, also, we expect, by this network, CNN.

Only then will the cardinals be released, so to speak, and the veil of secrecy at that stage will to some extent be lifted. Of course, they have taken vows to preserve the secrecy of the conclave. So, I doubt they'll be giving us round-by-round voting tallies. But I do expect they'll be coming out and telling us some of the logic that they followed in selecting Cardinal Ratzinger.

But to tell you the truth, I don't think there's a whole lot to speculate about. I think it's pretty clear. The cardinals here made a choice first of all for continuity with John Paul II. Ratzinger, after all, was the intellectual architect of much of his papacy. And, secondly, they made a choice for a man who's going to defend truth with a capital T. That is, in a time of some dissent and some doubt about what the Catholic Church stands for, he's going to defend, tenaciously, I suspect, its traditional doctrinal positions.

ZAHN: But they've also chosen a man who's 78 years old. How much impact can a transitional pope actually have?

ALLEN: First of all, Paula, I doubt there's going to be anything transitional about Joseph Ratzinger. I mean, it is not in his nature to simply keep the seat warm for the next man. Quite the contrary.

I suspect this is going to be a strong, decisive, consequential pontificate, even if it turns out to be brief. I mean, one of the ironies I've been noting throughout the day about this new pope's choice of a name is that the last pope named Benedict, Benedict XV, reigned only from 1914 to 1922, one of the shortest pontificates of the 20th century. But however long it is, I'm suspect Ratzinger's papacy will be memorable.

ZAHN: You have often said, John, that, in many ways, John Paul II's legacy was probably more powerful outside the church and what he accomplished through his travels. Is it realistic to think that Pope Benedict XVI will pick up on that legacy, given his age?

ALLEN: Well, I suspect -- yes, I suspect the pope will travel. I mean, we're fully expecting, for example, that he will make it to Cologne this summer for the next World Youth Day. These are these massive gatherings of Catholic youth that were launched under John Paul's pontificate, sometimes dubbed the Catholic Woodstock.

And, appropriately enough, the first of them on Pope Benedict XVI's watch will be in his native Germany. But whether he'll travel as much as pope John Paul, 104 foreign trips to 129 nations, that remains to be seen. You're right. Age is one issue, but another issue is a different temperament. Cardinal Ratzinger -- and we suspect Pope Benedict XVI, while certainly conscious of his role to address the world outside the church, also has a track record of being a man who is very concerned with the internal administration of Roman Catholicism.

And I suspect that was part of cardinals' reflection. Some cardinals have said over the years that one of the weaknesses of John Paul's reign, one of the few, in their view, was, there was an inattention to the nuts and bolts of internal governance. We would expect that that is certainly not something that would be characteristic of this new pontificate.

ZAHN: John, what's interesting to me is the kind of criticism we're already seeing lobbed at this new pope clearly from the American Catholic community in some quarters. But not only that; you had a cardinal -- or, excuse me, a bishop from Brazil saying he was very disappointed that they hadn't picked somebody that would more represent the interests of Latin America and Africa. How widespread is the criticism from your standpoint?

ALLEN: Well, I'm more familiar with the criticism of Cardinal Ratzinger over the years in his role as the Vatican's sort of top doctrinal policeman.

And, of course, that criticism has been persistent. But the thing is, I think it's a aspect of this pontificate, Paula, that, often, when popes come into office, there's something of a question mark to the broader world. Cardinal Ratzinger certainly is not. His position on a whole litany of issues, from liberation theology, to issues of sexual morality, to the question of Christianity's superiority as he sees it to other religions, these things are quite well known and well documented.

So, to be blunt, he brings a little bit of baggage. But, of course, he's playing a different role now. He's no longer the doctrinal czar. He's the pope. And, of course, being pope means you have to in some sense be everyone's pope. It will be interesting to see how he makes that transition.

ZAHN: As always, thanks for your insights, John Allen. Appreciate your joining us tonight. You've had a long day.

It is safe to say that a lot of U.S. Catholics are very disappointed by the results of the conclave.


TOM GOSS, SEMINARIAN: Because there's so many people alienated from the church as a whole, so many people alienated from Christianity as a whole, and I just think those are sometimes for valid reasons.


ZAHN: Coming up next, will this pope heal the divisions in the American church or actually make them worse?



GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Laura and I offer our congratulations to Pope Benedict XVI. He is a man of great wisdom and knowledge. He is a man who serves the lord.


ZAHN: President Bush reacting earlier today to the election of this new pope, certainly not mirroring some of the reaction we've seen across the country.

Many American Catholics are simply out of step with the Vatican on issues such as birth control, divorce, and gay rights, and the recent church sex abuse scandal hasn't helped at all either.

Chief national correspondent John King on the American view.


JOHN KING, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Bells of celebration at Catholic University, the yellow and white bunting marking the election of a new pope. Even here on a Catholic campus, talk of the many tough challenges ahead, and, mixed in with all the hope, a sense the new pope might not meet the expectations of his flock here in the United States.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's very difficult to be a practicing Catholic in this day and age, but I'm hoping he's going to listen to the people, especially the younger people, and move us forward. KING: Catholic University sophomore Rachel Marrion came to the basilica to soak in the moment, even though she worries a 78-year-old pope might not relate to a younger generation that often sees the church as out of step for teaching that birth control and homosexuality are evil.

RACHEL MARRION, CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY STUDENT: I think young people often feel neglected by the hierarchy of the Catholic Church.

KING: Seminarian Tom Goss describes himself as a little wary, believing another conservative pope could exacerbate strains with gay Catholics, divorced Catholics and women who feel their contributions to the couple are not appreciated.

GOSS: Because there's so many people alienated from the church as a whole, so many people alienated from Christianity as a whole, and I just think those are sometimes for valid reasons. And we need to look at those valid reasons. We need to look at the way we're excluding some people. We need to look at the way we're treating some people. And we need to remedy that and try to be a little more of a reconciler.

KING: These are views shared by Catholics across the country. Nearly eight in 10 American Catholics want the new pope to allow contraception. More than six in 10 believe priests should be allowed to married, and 55 percent favor the ordination of women priests.

CHARLES CURRAN, SOUTHERN METHODIST UNIVERSITY: In some ways, I think there is the danger of expecting too much. Everybody thinks that the new pope is going to change things, that everybody pins their hopes in a certain sense on the new pope, and I think that's a little bit unrealistic.

KING: Many of the churches celebrating the selection of a new pope are short priests, forcing parishes in many communities across the country to consolidate. But talk of allowing priests to marry or changing other fundamental church teachings rings hollow to many who want Pope Benedict to continue the course of his predecessor.

FATHER GILES DIMOCK: You can't pick out this little piece here or that little piece there and somehow cement it together. Catholicism is a way of being. And most of us who are, are happy doing that and being that.

KING: Mark Serrano gives voice to another challenge facing the church and its new pope, sexually abused by his parish priest as a child.

MARK SERRANO, SNAP: I cannot possibly entrust the safety of my four children in a Catholic parish today, so long as bishops continue to dismiss and deny the truth and allow perpetrators in some places in the church.

KING: Serrano wants the new pope to meet with sex abuse victims, but is not hopeful. Back in 2002, while a senior Vatican official, then Cardinal Ratzinger said U.S. media accounts were exaggerating the scope of the problem.

SERRANO: There have been bishops and cardinals throughout the world who have allow sexual predators to remain in the church. And they, too, should be held accountable by Pope Benedict.

KING: At evening mass, the first prayers for a new pope, a hopeful celebration in a nation of 64 million Catholics, but also a day to reflect on the church's many challenges.


ZAHN: So, John, let's continue to talk about the church sex abuse scandal. We just heard that victim talk about being alienated by some of what this cardinal has had to say over the years.

What has he said that's been so alienating, and, in some cases, downright outraging to certain Catholics?

KING: Well, Paula, the remark most seize on -- and if you look online at victims organization, victims groups, other critics of the church, this remark is being quickly circulated around the United States and in fact around the world.

It comes from December 2002, when then Cardinal Ratzinger, who, of course, was the chief doctrinaire of the Vatican, he told a news organization this. He said: "In the United States, there is constant news on this topic, but less than 1 percent of priests are guilty of acts of this type. The constant presence of these news items does not correspond to the objectivity of the information; therefore, one comes to the conclusion that it is intentional, manipulated, that there is a desire to discredit the church. It's a logical and well-founded conclusion."

Now, the victims groups, especially here in the United States, Paula, they want a pope who will ask the U.S. Catholic bishops, demand that the U.S. Catholic bishops, be more aggressive. The victims say there are still bishops who are being protected here in the United States. They want more, and they worry from a remark like this that the new pope will not give the urgency to the matter. They do say he deserves a chance now that he is the pope, not a senior Vatican official, but they're highly skeptical.

ZAHN: John King, that is something we're going to talk more about in our next segment. Thanks so much.

Over the past year, the Catholic Church has dealt with more than 1,000 new sexual abuse allegations, more than 10,000 since the 1950s.

And one of the survivors is Mary Grant, a regional director of SNAP, Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests. She joins us from Orange, California.

So, Mary, when you hear John King repeat those words that Cardinal Ratzinger once said, what's your reaction?

MARY GRANT, SNAP: Well, I think it makes us feel sad, sad in terms of how he is going to handle clergy sexual abuse right now.

Yet, we want to remain open-minded. And we hope that, while he has long been part of the Vatican bureaucracy, which many of the cardinals across the world have been a part of and have kept silent about the sexual abuse crisis, that he will step up to the plate and begin to hold complicit bishops responsible and accountable for sheltering and harboring known, suspected molesters in the priesthood.


ZAHN: But, Mary, how can you have an open mind, when the cardinal made it very clear that this -- part of the story was as a result of media manipulation? He also at one point went on to say, part of the problem was that the priests involved in sexual abuse hadn't prayed enough.

GRANT: You're absolutely right.

I mean, it's not so much that we're hopeful no matter who the new pope is, that that's going to make a huge difference. We know that, you know, mostly the changes in the church have come from external pressures and from the bottom up. And that has been by the courage of victims finding the strength to break their silence, concerned Catholics speaking up.

Yet, we have survived much of this by holding onto a hope that somehow the church or the next pope will follow what Pope John Paul II said, and that no priest who would harm a child belongs in the priesthood. And we hope that he takes heart to those words and backs it up with real action that will protect kids and not molesters and those that shield them.

ZAHN: But I know, Mary, that you feel that this new pope has a lot to prove. You have called him a polarizing figure who seems to prefer combativeness to compromise and compassion. So, if you were to describe where you are in this tonight, you say you might not be hopeful. Where are you on this?

GRANT: Right.

Well, we just feel that we need to keep pushing forward and keep urging Vatican bureaucrats, including the pope, to do the right thing. Clearly, Ratzinger, like many church officials across the country, have attempted to minimize the clergy sex abuse crisis and have glossed over reports of abuse, which kept this covered up for decades, and has pointed the finger of blame elsewhere, rather than stepping up and taking responsibility for what has happened in the church, and backing up nice-sounding words with real action, that, instead of being combative with victims, that he'll extend the hand of healing and compassion.

But you know what? Yes, we're skeptical, and only time will tell by his actions and not by his words.

ZAHN: Well, Mary Grant, I know you feel very strongly about this, because you've worked so many years on it. Thank you so much for your time tonight.

GRANT: You're welcome. Thank you, Paula.

ZAHN: My pleasure.

Still ahead, flash points dividing U.S. Catholics and the pope. He's also controversial in his homeland. Germany's split reaction is coming up.

But, first, let's check in with Erica Hill at about 22 minutes past the hour. She joins us tonight from Headline News, as she always does.

That would be Headline News.

ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, whatever works. We knew what you meant, Paula.

ZAHN: You know, when you rush, that's what happens.

HILL: It's exactly what happens.

Well, I'll get you straight to the headlines, then.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee postponed a vote on John Bolton's nomination to be ambassador to the United Nations. Now, that has his nomination in doubt. Committee members say they will take another look at allegations about Bolton's temperament and his method of dealing with subordinates. The committee could hold another hearing and call Bolton back for more testimony.

Meantime, Congress gave final approval to a bill today that will help parents skip or mute sections of movies that contain foul language, violence or nudity. The Family Entertainment and Copyright Act assures makers of DVD players and other devices that filter they install -- filters they install, rather, would not be violating copyright laws. The bill also makes it a federal crime to pirate movies by recording them in theaters and to distribute a movie or a song before its commercial release.

Prosecutors in the Michael Jackson child molestation trial say they'll wrap up their case next week after nine weeks of testimony. The mother of Jackson's accuser wrapped up her testimony today. She denied under cross-examination that she solicited money from celebrities for her son's cancer treatment.

And to help Americans eat more healthfully, the government has a new food pyramid. Gone is that one-size-fits-all model. There are now 12 different food pyramid models geared toward different lifestyle and nutrition needs. Foods groups are represented by bright rainbow- colored bands. You can check it out at

But just a warning, Paula. We've been trying it all night, and it seems a lot of people want to find out about their pyramid, because I can't get mine to work.


ZAHN: I know. I've looked at that thing and it doesn't make any sense to me. I will have to study it in great detail.

HILL: Good luck.

ZAHN: If you figure it out, let me know.

HILL: I will.

ZAHN: Thanks, Erica. See you in a little bit.

Coming up next, more on other problems that have U.S. Catholics boiling mad, on the issue of birth control, abortion, women priests, homosexuality, and the new pope.


ZAHN: The culture clash between American Catholics and the church is sure to come up on Pope Benedict's agenda. So far, there's no sign he's willing to budget at all.

Joining me now is Chris Bellitto, who teaches church history at Kean University in New Jersey, and Margaret Steinfels of the Fordham University Center on Religion and Culture.

Great to have both of you with us.


ZAHN: So, you have got to believe that many progressive Catholics -- and we've spoken with some of them tonight -- are very upset about this appointment, because they don't think that this Vatican will be at all in touch with their daily lives.

Is that a fair criticism?

CHRIS BELLITTO, CHURCH HISTORIAN: Well, that's what I've been hearing today on the phone. And it makes me think of kind of the history of reform.

Reform movements occur usually from the bottom up. And I'm wondering if, 30 or 40 or 50 years from now, some people will look upon this day as a day where reform rose and didn't fall, because people -- at least it seems that a large number of American Catholics -- but the American church is divided, just as the American political scene is divided, pretty much 51-49.

And one wonders if people are going to look back and say, you know, this was a moment where reform kind of coalesced in a sense. Call it what you will, a loyal opposition or something like that. Reform is going to change in different ways. In fact, even Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict, talked about reforming the reforms. Now, what that kind of meant was, the former liberal theologian at Vatican II became the conservative, even traditionalist prefect for the Congregation For the Doctrine of the Faith. But we're in a discussion in this country about what Vatican II is. As long as we keep talking.

ZAHN: So, let's talk specifically how this impacts women, because Cardinal Ratzinger, as a cardinal, made some comments that a lot of American women, frankly, found insulting, when he basically said their primary responsibility was to be mothers. We all love being mothers, but I think what they were offended by was the fact that a lot of them were working outside the house, and needed to, to support their families, and they didn't see what he said as squaring with their lives.


I think that that's right. And it would be ironic, I suppose, if he, in a sense, was even more conservative than John Paul II, who, in fact, turned out to be quite appreciative of women's roles in the world. And if Cardinal Ratzinger is not, he's got real troubles on his hand, because I think something like 80 percent of the work in Catholic parishes, schools, hospitals, social service agencies is done by women. Now...


ZAHN: Sure. But you have got to separate what laywomen are doing in the church vs. the issue of whether women will ever be allowed to become priests in the Catholic Church. Two distinct issues about the role of the women in the church?

STEINFELS: Not necessarily two distinct issues. I think -- I don't think women will soon become ordained or even that there will be discussions about it, but, I mean, you know, one of the interesting kind of anthropological issues, is, that a woman could be a cardinal. That is not reserved to men, and we could imagine a time when women as cardinals could help elect a new pope. Now, I suspect we get a very different kind of pope if women had something to say about it.

ZAHN: Very brief thought on that, even a realistic possibility, you think under this new pope Pius?

BELLITTO: I don't think under this new pope.

ZAHN: Pope Benedict, excuse me...

BELLITTO: Pope Benedict.

ZAHN: We've been talking about so many different popes today.

BELLITTO: You know, I think only Nixon could have gone to China, and in the early 1500s there was a pope named Paul III, and his nickname was Cardinal Pettycoat because he had become a cardinal as a teenager because his sister was Alexander VI's mistress. The last guy you would expect -- had children, had mistresses -- when he was made a cardinal, made his grandsons cardinals, but he was the man who brought together the notion of reform in the Catholic Church, made Catholics say, you know, some of what Luther was saying was right, we made a mistake. Only he could have started the reform that helped get the Catholic Church out of it. It's possible.

ZAHN: It's going to be fascinating to see how this plays out.

Thank you, both, for coming in tonight.

STEINFELS: Thank you.

BELLIOTT: Thanks for having us.

ZAHN: Appreciate it.

It's a worldwide church, of course. Coming up next, what Catholics all over the globe are saying about their new pope: worldwide reaction and more in a few words, when he come back.


ZAHN: The news about Pope Benedict XVI flashed around the world in just an instant. For millions of Catholics his appearance on their televisions meant their prayers had not been answered. Zain Verjee reports.


ZAIN VERJEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: For Catholics in the developing world, it was not to be. Many had hoped the princes of the church would elect a cardinal from Latin America or Africa to fill the throne of St. Peter, and reflect the changing face of the Catholic Church.

Latin America has the world's largest Catholic population, and the African continent is the church's fastest-growing flock.

As the great bells of St. Peter tolled in Vatican City, so they did in Mexico City, amid prayers and tears, support.

I think it's been a good decision, says Avelia (ph). Some of the faithful in Honduras were disappointed that their cardinal, Maradiaga, wasn't chosen. Maria Pavone's (ph) explanation, I think he's still not ready. What impeded him was his age.

There was celebrations in Rio de Janeiro. Marion (ph) was thrilled at the news. It's marvelous, she says, because he will fix what's wrong. I think he will lead with the will of steel. That, for some Catholics, like Claude Santos (ph), is the problem. I think he's somewhat conservative, she says. We wanted a bit more movement in the church.

As cardinal, Joseph Ratzinger was known for his rigid position on church doctrine, saying no to homosexuality, no to birth control, no to the marriage of priests, and no to abortion. In Europe, many Catholics want to see a shift. This French pilgrim says, she hopes the new pope will reconsider the church position on condoms. In Spain, many of the faithful were more positive.

I think it's a great choice.

A little younger would have been better.

In Italy, dancing in St. Peter's Square, and congratulations all around. Paolo, a souvenir seller says, it's a great joy. I used to see him pass and nod to me, a great pope. For sure, he will be a great pope.

Many Catholics around the world believe the decision was ultimately guided by the holy spirit, and the holy spirit, they say, can't be wrong.


ZAHN: That was Zain Verjee, reporting for us. Joining me here in New York, Monsignor Lorenzo Albacete, a theologian author and a columnist for the "New York Times Magazine." Monsignor Albacete was very close to Pope John Paul II and knows this new pope well. Always good to see you.


ZAHN: Welcome back.

ALBACETE: Thank you.

ZAHN: So, Let's talk about this new pope. You've got to admit, he does not have the best image to the outside world.

ALBACETE: He has a huge image problem, that's correct.

ZAHN: Well, let's talk about some of the names people have called him, quote, "God's rottweiler." "The Grand Inquisitor."

ALBACETE: Splendid.

ZAHN: "Cardinal No." Splendid?

ALBACETE: Well, I mean I wouldn't want to have that reputation myself.

ZAHN: Those aren't good things.

ALBACETE: No, obviously that is a stereotype. The cardinals are not crazy people. They're going to come together and elect this kind of person. This is not a small little group. This is a body of electors that represents the whole world, like never before. They're not going to take on this problem. They must have seen something else. And what do they see? They see, a man who, as a man, I would think -- I would say, perhaps the humblest person in that conclave, with a simplicity of heart that you could see the way he come out, the new papal gesture he has introduced.

ZAHN: Well, that may be true, but I think the criticism would suggest that there's no gray scale there. I mean, clearly, there's no ambiguity in what he believes. Nobody's expecting that, but maybe in terms of his willingness to bend or to compromise. Does that exist anywhere in his DNA?

ALBACETE: Oh, yes, it does. But let me put it this way to you: the man is operating at a level -- he believes the world faces an enormous danger to our humanity and that it is the responsibility of the Church, above all, to face that and come to the rescue of human life, but in a non-moralistic sense, to the rescue of human experience even. And the fact that he chose this name, because this is exactly what Benedict did. He saved Europe, he made possible human civilization in his time. Today it's different.

ZAHN: So, wait, you're not telling me you think he's going to save the world?

ALBACETE: No. I think he's going to position the Church further in the direction of Pope John Paul II, launch it -- I said it at that time -- the future, the path of the Church, is man. The Church exists to promote, to rescue man. Christ, if it's worth anything -- the purpose of Christ is the salvation of all humanity.

ZAHN: Will he disappoint a lot of American Catholics?

ALBACETE: Initially, absolutely, yes. Frankly, I'm sorry, but Christ disappointed many of his own followers, even the apostles, even Peter. No, this cannot be, I'll protect you.

Yes, he will disappoint. But I think -- I think his simplicity of heart will break through, and I think once people get over the initial shock, it may well be that they will discover a gentleness that is an attraction they never expected. I put my hope on that.

ZAHN: Well, Monsignor, it's always great to have you on board.

ALBACETE: Always fun to be here.

ZAHN: Thank you.

ALBACETE: Can't go on meeting like this.

ZAHN: And thank you for the little Bible school lesson there at the end. We always appreciate that.


ZAHN: Yeah, why not?

In a minute, some of the people who know the pope best. We're going to take you to Germany, where his friends and foes, even his brother are speaking out.

Also, the last Pope Benedict, the one the monsignor just referred to. Does he offer any clues about this new pope?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ZAHN: Pope Benedict XVI is the first German pope in 1,000 years. So it might be a little bit surprising to hear that in his homeland, one poll shows Germans are deeply divided over his election. Here's Chris Burns.


CHRIS BURNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In his native Bavaria, surprise and jubilation by his supporters. In Munich, where Joseph Ratzinger, the son of a policeman studied theology, then became archbishop and cardinal.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I'm happy. We have the first Bavarian pope.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): To be honest, I didn't expect Ratzinger to be elected to be the next pope.

BURNS: Though even in Germany's conservative Catholic stronghold, criticism of the new pontiff long dubbed God's Rottweiler, who was the Vatican's chief watchdog for doctrine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): It is catastrophic, because this man is far too conservative. With his views, I mean, this is a bad thing for the Catholic Church.

BURNS: A recent poll indicates Germans are split over the man now called Pope Benedict XVI. More than one-third oppose him; less than a third support him. Nevertheless, a leftist chancellor expresses pride.

GERHARD SCHROEDER, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): The new pope, Benedict XVI, is German. It's a great honor for the whole country.

BURNS: A key test for the pontiff will come here in Cologne this summer, during the church's European youth jamboree.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I think it is great, really great. I'm already looking forward to World Youth Day. I think this will be the first big challenge, and we'll see whether he will continue to be that conservative. I don't think so.

BURNS: Back in the Alpine foothills of Bavaria, where the pope still has a home, his brother expresses some reservations about the new position.

GEORGE RATZINGER, BROTHER OF POPE BENEDICT XVI (through translator): At age 78, it's not good to take on such a job which challenges the entire person and the physical and mental existence. At an age when you approach 80, it's no longer guaranteed that one is able to work and get up the next day.

BURNS: Reservations his brother obviously paid no attention to.

(END VIDEOTAPE) ZAHN: I guess no. Chris Burns reporting for us.

"LARRY KING LIVE" is just ahead, continuing our prime-time coverage of the pope's selection. Larry, who do you have with you tonight?

LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": Well, that's a good guess, Paula. We have Father John Bartunek, recently ordained as a Catholic priest because of the influence of Pope John Paul. Sister Joan Chittister, who is probably a strong member of the liberal wing of the church. Father Fessio, who studied under Cardinal Ratzinger. Father Manning here in Los Angeles. And Paul Wilkes, a special correspondent out of the Vatican. So we'll get a thorough discussion of what could be a very controversial selection, Paula.

ZAHN: It's going to sound like you're going to have to use your well-honed skills as a moderator this evening. Lots of points of view in that group of guests.

KING: My well-honed skills are being honed while we wait.

ZAHN: All right, Larry. Have a good show. We'll be watching you in the next 14 minutes or so.

KING: Thanks, Paula.

ZAHN: A reminder, there have been some 15 other Pope Benedicts, but Benedict XVI may not have been thinking about any of them when he picked his name. A guess (ph) about Benedict and what he might have had in mind right after we check the day's other top stories, where Erica Hill has been waiting patiently in the box on the right side of the screen. Hi, Erica.

HILL: I morphed from Larry.

ZAHN: We got the green memo tonight, I guess.

HILL: We did. I'm happy to see that we both responded well to it.

Hi, again, Paula. We start off with a very important note for anyone who travels. Screening at America's airports, it seems, may not be getting any better. The Department of Homeland Security's inspector general reports federal screeners are hard-working, but the results of recent security tests are not much improved from two years ago. Internal investigators were able to smuggle knives, guns and fake bombs onto planes in a number of U.S. airports.

Being obese, apparently, not as dangerous to one's health as previously thought. New calculations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention place it at number seven on a list of preventable causes of death in the United States, not second, as the CDC reported earlier this year. That new study finds people who are modestly overweight actually have a lower risk of death than people of normal weight. And some 25 years in the making, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum opened today. President Bush was in Springfield, Illinois for the dedication. The $145 million museum houses a signed copy of the Emancipation Proclamation and a handwritten version of the Gettysburg address.

And that's the latest from HEADLINE NEWS at this hour. Paula, I'll turn it back over to you.

ZAHN: Thanks so much, Erica, in the groovy green tonight. Appreciate it.

Catholics all over the world have plenty of questions. One of the most common is about his name. Next, the other popes, and one great saint named Benedict.


ZAHN: When Karol Wojtyla became pope in 1978, he took his predecessor's name, John Paul, who had taken the names of the two popes before him. To many it showed the new popes didn't have any big changes in mind. So there must be something to learn from Cardinal Ratzinger's choice of the name Benedict.



ZAHN: What's in a name? Catholics usually see a pope's name as a hint about his agenda, but a lot of people are scratching their heads about the name Benedict. There was only one in the 20th century, Pope Benedict XV was elected a month into World War I. He kept the Vatican neutral, earning the scorn of both sides. Benedict XV also ending an age of intolerance of liberal theologians.

There isn't many to say about the other 14 pope Benedicts. One got elected by bribery. One may have been poisoned. Benedict XII reigned in France instead of in Rome. When he was elected unanimously on the first ballot, he told everyone, you have elected a jack ass. Perhaps this Pope Benedict is looking all the way back to the 500s to St. Benedict, who founded a famous monastery in Italy, and wrote a set of rules for his monks who were still called Benedictines. Those rules can be summed up in two words, pray and work.

So why Benedict? Well, we'll just have to wait until pope Benedict XVI tells us.


ZAHN: And sometimes pope picks names for strictly personally reasons. John XXIII said he chose that name, because it sounded soft and gentle. And because it was the name of both his father and the parishes where he was baptized.

We have covered a whole range of issues tonight in our special hour look at this new pope and look at what our new pope might say. Next we go back to the Vatican for news on when he will start saying it and to whom.


ZAHN: Quiet night surrounding St. Peter's Basilica. Pope Benedict's next major public appearance won't happen until Sunday when he will hold his inaugural mass. An joining me now from Rome, CNN, Vatican analyst Delia. Good to see you, Delia. I want you to come back to a point John King was making earlier this evening, about why so many American Catholics feel alienated by this choice. And it comes specifically to the issue of the church sex abuse scandal. This is a pope, when he was cardinal, basically who said a lot of the furor was created by the manipulation of the media. And he was critical for priests for not praying enough. You think that that doesn't clarify the full picture here. What's missing?

DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN ANALYST: Well, I think that it's interesting to note that when that scandal broke, one of the things that Cardinal Ratzinger did, was set up a special office within his congregation, which hadn't existed before, to investigate those cases that came to the Vatican. So I think that if there's anybody who agreed with Pope John Paul II that the sex abuse by priests was a crime, it was Cardinal Ratzinger.

And if there's anybody that knows those cases individually and the details of them, it is this pope. So I think that that can be an important indication that he is very aware of what happened in the American church, very concerned about, of course, at the heart of it, for him, is priests not being faithful to their vocation. So, I think, for him I think that was the heart scandal. And then the media, he felt, might have blown it out of proportion or concentrated, focused on the Catholic Church disproportionately, is his position. But certainly, he was very keen to understand exactly what was going on in those cases, and it was unprecedented, actually, that this office had been set up, and still exists today, by the way.

ZAHN: But, Delia, what you saying may be true. But I think what some of these American Catholics were telling us tonight, there's not much in the language he has used so far that gives them hope that he will clamp down on these priests in a more honoring (ph) way.

GALLAGHER: Well, the question of clamping down is really a question of how do you deal with it. And of course, I think everybody at the Vatican is convinced that you remove the priests from his -- from his duties, but he always remains a priest. And that goes back to a fundamental part about Cardinal Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI, that there are certain teachings of the church that a priest is always a priest is one of them, that he cannot change.

ZAHN: Delia Gallagher, thank you for joining us again tonight. And we want to thank you all for being with us tonight.

"LARRY KING LIVE" starts right now. He, too, will be focusing on this new pope selected today, Pope Benedict XVI.

We'll be back same time, same place, tomorrow night.



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