Cardinals elect a new Pope - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Cardinals elect a new Pope

Pope Benedict XVI (Photo courtesy: Wikipedia) Pope Benedict XVI (Photo courtesy: Wikipedia)

Vatican City-- A successor to Pope John Paul II has been named. White smoke signaled the selection of the new Pope about Noon, Eastern Daylight Time, Tuesday.

The new Pope is former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, a German.  He is 78, and has cosen the name Benedict XVI.

As a teen in Nazi Germany, Ratzinger was forced to join the Hitler Youth. He was draft into the Vermacht, and risked death by firing squad when he deserted the German Army in 1944.

He was captured by the Allies shortly before Word War II ended.

He was apointed Cardinal Bishop of the episcopal see of Velletri-Segni in 1993, by Pope John Paul II, and was elected Dean of the College of Cardinals in 2002.

The native of Bavaria, Germany was one of the closest aides of the late Pope John Paul II, and was long considered a leading contender to succeed him.

Since 1981 Ratzinger has been the prefect of the congregation for the Doctrine of the faith. He has been responsible for maintaining the Catholic Church's hard line on issues such as birth control, barring women from the priesthood, abortion and euthanasia.

A hard-line guardian of conservative doctrine, Pope Benedict II called himself "a simple, humble worker." Ratzinger is the first German Pope since the eleventh century.