On 2nd Day of Conclave; Takes Name of Benedict XVI

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VATICAN CITY, APRIL 19, 2005 ( With surprising speed, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, a longtime confidant of John Paul II, was elected Pope by the conclave, choosing the name Benedict XVI and calling himself «a simple, humble worker.»

Cheering crowds in a packed St. Peter’s Square greeted the Church’s 265th Pope as he emerged onto the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica this evening.

«Dear brothers and sisters,» said the German-born prelate, «after the great Pope, John Paul II, the Lord Cardinals have elected me, a simple, humble worker in the Lord’s vineyard.»

«I am consoled by the fact that the Lord is able to work and act with insufficient instruments and, above all, I rely on your prayers,» he said. He was first introduced by Cardinal Jorge Arturo Medina Estévez.

The new Pope, who turned 78 last Saturday, was the longtime prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under his predecessor John Paul II.

He appeared smiling and calm as he greeted the tens of thousands below in the square. The crowd responded to the new Holy Father by chanting «Benedict! Benedict!»

White smoke poured from the chimney atop the Sistine Chapel at 5:50 p.m. local time and the bells of St. Peter’s rang to announce the conclave had picked the new Pope.

As Cardinal Ratzinger, he has been widely considered one of the brightest minds in the Church.

The conclave was one of the fastest in the past century. Pope Pius XII was elected in 1939 in three ballots over two days. The new Pope was elected after either four or five ballots over two days, the Associated Press said.

Under conclave rules, a winner needed two-thirds support, or 77 votes from the 115 cardinal electors.

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