Four years ago today, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI. I wasn't Catholic when it happened and I didn't know much about it, but I knew I was happy with the choice because it ticked off all the right people. The mainstream press were calling him a hardliner conservative rigid doctrinal watchdog, which is how they describe anyone who has the temerity to believe his religion, and there were many foaming-at-the-mouth editorials. They'd find a way to mention three times in every story that "He was in the Hitler Youth!" but they hardly ever explained that he was forced in at age 14 like every other boy in Germany, that he and his family hated the Nazis as being opposed to Catholicism, and that he refused to go to their meetings.
Now I know much more about him and I love the man and his preaching and writing. You wouldn't know it from the "doctrinal watchdog" descriptions, but his teaching is characterized by an irenic tone and respectful engagement of opposing viewpoints. He's scholarly and acts a lot like the college professor he was. Anyway, I've been catching up on the joy of his election with the video Fr. Z posted here (mostly in Italian and Latin). May God grant him many more years of health in mind and body, and I hope it will be a loooong time before we see another election. :)