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Antigay German
cardinal is now Pope Benedict XVI

Antigay German
cardinal is now Pope Benedict XVI

Pope_benedict

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany, a hard-line guardian of conservative doctrine who is widely believed to have helped John Paul II craft much of the staunchly antigay Vatican statements issued in the last 20 years, was elected the new pope Tuesday evening in the first conclave of the new millennium. He chose the name Benedict XVI and called himself "a simple, humble worker." Ratzinger, the first German pope since the 11th century, emerged onto the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica, where he waved to a wildly cheering crowd of tens of thousands and gave his first blessing as pope. Other cardinals, clad in their crimson robes, came out on other balconies to watch him. "Dear brothers and sisters, after the great Pope John Paul II, the cardinals have elected me, a simple, humble worker in the vineyard of the Lord," he said. "I entrust myself to your prayers." The crowd responded by chanting, "Benedict! Benedict!" Ratzinger served John Paul II since 1981 as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. In that position he has disciplined church dissidents and upheld church policy against attempts by liberals for reforms--a job that earned him nicknames including "the enforcer" and "God's rottweiler." He turned 78 on Saturday. The new pope had gone into the conclave with the most buzz among two dozen leading candidates. He had impressed many faithful with his stirring homily at the funeral of John Paul II, who died April 2 at age 84. The newly minted Benedict XVI is already attracting controversy for his youthful involvement in Nazism in his native Germany. As reported in The [London] Times, Ratzinger was briefly a member of the Hitler Youth movement and served during World War II with a German army anti-aircraft unit. As the Times pointed out, his Nazi involvement is in direct contrast to the youth of John Paul II, "who took part in anti-Nazi theater performances in his native Poland and in 1986 became the first pope to visit Rome's synagogue," The Times wrote. Benedict is the son of a police officer from rural southern Germany; he was 6 years old in 1933, when Hitler took over the national government. He reportedly joined the Hitler Youth when he was 14; membership for male teenagers had been made compulsory in 1941. He left the organization upon entering seminary. The Times reported, "Two years later Ratzinger was enrolled in an anti-aircraft unit that protected a BMW factory making aircraft engines. The workforce included slaves from Dachau concentration camp. Ratzinger has insisted he never took part in combat or fired a shot--adding that his gun was not even loaded--because of a badly infected finger. He was sent to Hungary, where he set up tank traps and saw Jews being herded to death camps. He deserted in April 1944 and spent a few weeks in a prisoner of war camp."

Advocate Magazine - KehlaniAdvocate Magazine - Gus Kenworthy

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