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New Pope Lays Out His Vision


Catholics around the world are reacting to the news of the election of the new pope, Benedict XVI, formerly Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, of Germany.

Pope Benedict XVI celebrated his first public mass as the 265th leader of the Roman Catholic Church, inside the Sistine Chapel.

In a message read in Latin, Benedict listed the priorities of his pontificate.

He pledged to work to unify all Christians and to continue implementing the work of the Second Vatican Council, the 1962 -1965 meeting which sought to modernize the church.

He also said he wanted to continue what he called an "open and sincere dialogue" with other religions.

Local officials in the pope's hometown of Marktl am Inn in southern Germany prepared for a big celebration in the town square Wednesday, where there was widespread delight. One man said, "For Germany it's great. For Germany, for Bavaria, and for Marktl, it's great."

As worshippers in Rome prayed for the new pope, some clergymen said it was wrong to characterize the new pope as a hard-line conservative, a reputation he gained during his years enforcing the church's religious doctrine. One priest's reaction was, "I think labels are sometimes too easy and his role as prefect of the congregation is different from what it might be when he's known as Holy Father. We need to wait and see what unfolds over the next few months and few years hopefully."

In Los Angeles, American cardinals held a news conference to discuss the appointment of Pope Benedict.

Cardinal Roger Michael Mahony, the Archbishop of Los Angeles, praised the pontiff's earlier remarks. "He compliments our Holy Father (John Paul II) for leaving as his legacy a church that is more courageous, a church that is more free and a church that is younger."

Cardinal Francis Arinze
There was mixed reaction to the news in Africa, where many Catholics prayed for the appointment of an African pontiff.

In Nigeria, many worshippers had hoped that one of their own, Cardinal Francis Arinze, would be chosen.

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