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By: Andrew M. Greeley

After twenty-six years under the leadership of the charismatic, socially conservative John Paul II, the future of a Church which is increasingly at odds with a secular modern world hung in the balance as cardinals from all over the globe gathered to vote for the new pontiff. On Tuesday 19th April 2005, after three rounds of voting, the conclave finally elected Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, seen as the most traditionalist candidate, to become Pope Benedict XVI, the 256th head of the Catholic Church. Father Andrew M.

Greeley is uniquely placed to give a fascinating insight into the politics, coalitions and rumour-swapping that lead up to the election of the new Pope as well as its long-term implications for the Catholic Church. He is a priest with inside access to the Vatican and also a seasoned journalist and sociologist who has been a leading voice in the catholic community for decades.