Pope makes first appointments of his papacy
21 April 2005, VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI made the first official appointments of his papacy on Thursday as the city of Rome geared up to welcome scores of Catholics and dignitaries for his Sunday inaugural mass.
21 April 2005
VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI made the first official appointments of his papacy on Thursday as the city of Rome geared up to welcome scores of Catholics and dignitaries for his Sunday inaugural mass.
In a display of continuity with his predecessor, the late John Paul II, Benedict XVI confirmed Cardinal Angelo Sodano as the Vatican's secretary of state.
He also extended the current mandates of the entire Roman Curia, the Holy See's 'government' including that of its foreign minister, Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo.
All of the ministers were originally appointed by John Paul II during his 26-year-old pontificate.
Vatican analysts, meanwhile, were keen to discover who Benedict will appoint as the new Prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, a church body which defends orthodoxy and which he headed for 24 years.
The pontificate of Benedict XVI will be formally inaugurated on Sunday with an open-air Mass in St. Peter's Square. The pope will be presented with the Papal Pallium, a traditional gold-embroidered vestment, and the Fisherman's Ring.
The golden signet, symbolising his authority, will be kissed by all of the church's cardinals, including those who elected him in a 24-hour-long conclave earlier this week.
Officials expect around 500,000 people, many from his native Germany, as well as dozens of foreign heads of state and prime ministers, to take part in the solemn service.
Among confirmed guests are German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, French prime minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin and King Juan Carlos of Spain.
A tight security regime will be put in place, including a no-fly zone over Rome and the deployment of anti-aircraft missiles around the Eternal City.
"The organisational machine has already been set in motion," said Guido Bertolaso, head of Italy's Civil Protection agency.
Organisers were recently tested by the monumental funeral of Pope John Paul II, an event that attracted millions of people and the biggest gathering of dignitaries in years.
The pope's forthcoming engagements include a press conference on Saturday that will draw massive international media coverage.
On Monday, Benedict XVI is due to make his first official trip outside the Vatican, with a traditional visit to Rome's St. Paul's Basilica.
Benedict XVI made a trip to his former Rome residence on Thursday ahead of moving into his new papal apartment in the coming days.
The trip, his second in as many days, drew the cheers of Romans and visitors. Making the brief trip into Rome by car, the smiling pontiff waved back to them.
Elsewhere, cardinals were divulging details of his election and the reason that guided their choice of pope. In an interview with Rome-based daily La Repubblica, Christoph Schoenborn of Austria described Ratzinger as a "natural choice for pope".
"We all felt he was a brother with superior qualities," the cardinal said, adding that his clear vision and closeness to the deceased John Paul II convinced the vast majority of cardinals to back him.
According to another Rome-based daily, Il Messaggero, the near unanimity of cardinals present in the conclave, 115, cast their ballots in his favour during the fourth and decisive vote on Tuesday.
Citing anonymous Vatican sources, Il Messaggero said Ratzinger had initially received 38 votes, two less than his Italian colleague Carlo Maria Martini, who is considered a reformist.
On the second day of the conclave, Martini is believed to have backed out of the running. The paper says Ratzinger eventually received 107, far more than the necessary two-thirds majority of 77.
Ratzinger was elected on Tuesday afternoon in one of the shortest conclaves in recent history, within 24-hours of its Monday afternoon start.
Subject: German news