Vatican City The modern world – not the doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church – needs to change, say three Canadian cardinals who helped choose the conservative Joseph Ratzinger to lead the world's Catholic community.
Cardinal Ratzinger was elected Pope on Tuesday after four ballots in one of the shortest conclaves in a century. He took the name Benedict XVI.
The Canadian cardinals and their counterparts from around the world rallied to the defence of Pope Benedict on Wednesday, saying the man is misunderstood.
Pope Benedict spent more than 20 years as the church's guardian of the doctrine, cracking down on Catholics when they strayed too far from church teachings.
“He had one of the most terrible jobs you can have,” Jean-Claude Cardinal Turcotte of Montreal said.
The cardinals also said hopes among some liberals that a new pope might make major changes to policy on contraception and the role of women in the church are misguided.
“If there needs to be change, it needs to be in the world, not in the doctrine," said Marc Cardinal Ouellet, archbishop of Quebec.
The cardinals acknowledged they were aiming to extend the pontificate of John Paul when they voted to elect Cardinal Ratzinger as pope.
“We chose to continue the successful pontificate of Pope John Paul," Cardinal Turcotte said.
Aloysius Ambrozic of Toronto was the third Canadian cardinal voting in the conclave.