And the New Pope Is?

By Melanie Arter | July 7, 2008 | 8:05pm EDT

( - German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was selected as the new pope to succeed Pope John Paul II Tuesday and will be known as Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal Jorge Medina Estevez announced.

"My dearest brothers and sisters, I announce to you a great joy - we have a pope!" Estevez said. Addressing the crowd gathered in St. Peter's Square Tuesday afternoon, Pope Benedict XVI said the cardinals elected "a simple, humble worker in God's vineyard."

The new pope said he is "consoled by the fact that the Lord knows how to work and how to act even with insufficient tools, and I especially tossed in your prayers."

Pope Benedict XVI is known as a strict defender of Catholic orthodoxy over the last 23 years. He was also seen as the front-runner prior to the conclave. Born on April 16, 1927 in Bavaria, the pope was theology professor, then he became archbishop of Munich prior to taking over the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 1981.

Prior to the announcement of Pope Benedict XVI, white smoke billowed out of the chimney of the Sistine Chapel Tuesday, indicating a new successor to Pope John Paul II had been selected. Cheers erupted from the crowd in St. Peter's Square shortly before noon EDT, and bells rang out a few minutes later. The new pope was selected on the fourth ballot.

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