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Learning English - Words in the News
20 April, 2005 - Published 11:36 GMT
New pope elected
Pope Benedict XVI

The Cardinals of the Roman Catholic church have elected the former Cardinal, Joseph Ratzinger, as the new pope. Benedict XVI inherits a Catholic church which his predecessor John Paul II turned into a major political factor in world affairs. This report from William Horsley:

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The Catholic cardinals did not after all choose an African or Latin American pope who would have spoken directly to the concerns of the developing world. They chose Joseph Ratzinger, a theologian who's spent many years at the Vatican in Rome, at a time when it faces strong attacks over church scandals, suffocating bureaucracy and claims that it's grown out of touch with the lives of people, both in the secular west and in the needy south.

The new pope, though respected for his intellect, may be seen by his critics both in and out of the church as a step backwards for its wider image; as a doctrinaire or even authoritarian figure. He has publicly pledged to "re-christianise" Europe; and in adversarial style he has denounced communism in all its forms, American leaders over the Iraq war, the European Union for turning away from its Christian roots, and leaders of the eastern orthodox and protestant Christian faiths for refusing to submit to the leadership of Rome.

Where John Paul opened up dialogue with Islam and with orthodox Christians, the man who is now pope has, up to now, preached that the church of Rome has all the answers. Bold diplomacy also needs human skills, and he has much to do to prove that he has them.

William Horsley, BBC News, Rome

Listen to the words

spoken directly to the concerns of
addressed the worries of somebody or something (in this case, the poorer countries)

spent many years
worked for a long time

suffocating bureaucracy
a system of official rules and ways of doing things that is very complicated

it's grown out of touch with
it (here, the Catholic Church) doesn't know or understand someone(here, the lives of people) any more

may be seen by his critics (as)
his critics might think of him as

believing that people should obey rules and authority, even if they are unfair

hostile, or involving enemies

denounced communism in all its forms
to denounce something (in this case communism and all its forms) is to strongly criticise something that you think is wrong or illegal

refusing to submit to the leadership of Rome
not wanting to be ruled by the Head of the Catholic Church

human skills
the ability to connect with people and make them like and accept you

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