It will be interesting to see the way the new pope runs things as well as the subjects that he follows up on from Pope John Paul II. I wish I could have been in St. Peter's Square in Rome when they announced Pope Benedict XVI to the world, but Catholic University was an exciting alternative.
-- Ellen J. Hermanson
I was raised Catholic, but I have removed myself from the church. I will, however, watch with keen interest how Benedict XVI will interact with American Catholics considering his hard-line approach.
-- Kevin Slattery
For the new pope to be elected in such a short period shows how committed the officials of the Catholic Church are to starting a new era in the faith as well as to moving the church forward.
-- Andrew Gunderson
The media seem to think Catholic University is the epicenter of American Catholicism. I never would have expected to look out my window and see 20 news vans parked on my campus for a week.
I have been raised Catholic, but I don't think I ever gave much thought to how the pope affected my life. The whole idea of the pope always has been a formality -- especially because in the past five or so years, when I have paid attention to the news, Pope John Paul II has been so ill and seemingly inactive. I hope this new pope can change my mind about the role of the pope in my life as a young Catholic.
-- Maggie Leyden
I am happy with the elevation of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. With his background of leadership and strong conservative ideas, I believe he will have a successful reign. Even though he can never replace Pope John Paul II, I am at ease knowing our faith is being led by a person who is healthy, educated, ambitious and, now, infallible.
-- Leia DiCocco
Over the past few weeks we have heard time and again about the legacy of John Paul II. Although I am a Roman Catholic, I was unaware of the widespread positive view of John Paul's encyclicals, political stances and spiritual leadership. I had only seen the controversy some of his positions generated, including his stance against abortion, the use of condoms, stem cell research and same-sex marriage, and his reluctance to discuss the possibility of the ordination of women priests.
Many of my religious and political beliefs are conservative, and, therefore, I should be quite comfortable with Pope Benedict XVI leading my fellow 1.1 billion Roman Catholics.
During this extremely chaotic and morally challenging era, the church needs a hard-nosed man who will remain steadfast to the spiritual and practical doctrines our church has been centered around since its inception.
-- Emmett McGowan