by Albion Land in Vatican City. Wednesday, 20 April, 2005, 09:32:
"I love the smell of napalm in the morning . . . The smell -- you know, that gasoline smell -- the whole hill -- it smelled like . . . victory."
Quoting actor Robert Duvall in the Vietnam war film "Apocalypse Now," that is how Philip Blosser, a conservative Roman Catholic professor in the United States, greeted the election of Pope Benedict XVI on his weblog, "Musings of a Pertinacious Papist".
Blosser, like thousands of other people across the world, has created a place to share his thoughts by blogging, among a number of Catholics who are using the net to share their faith and to talk about what is right and wrong with it.
Reacting to Tuesday's election of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as pope, Blosser explains that "when John Kerry lost the last (US) presidential election, nobody thought the world could witness a more disappointed constituency than the Democrat 'blue state' partisans" who saw George W. Bush win re-election."
"I then predicted that the disappointment and gnashing of teeth among Democrats was nothing compared to what the world would see in the disappointment of liberal, dissident Catholics . . . at the outcome of the next conclave."
"Well, I never could have been more right in a prediction. The liberal cafeteria Catholic's worst nightmare has come true: the Panzerkardinal, the Grand Inquisitor himself, has come to the papal throne."
"The Lord in His mercy and grace has sent us a Pope who loves truth, every bit as much as the late John Paul II did."
The Blosser household is a big fan of Ratzinger. The professor's son, Christopher, maintains a website called the Cardinal Ratzinger Fan Club, and Blosser muses about whether he is now going to have to change the name of it.
In fact, www.ratzingerfanclub.com crashed amid a sudden flood of interest after the election.
The site, featuring biographical information, speeches and glowing praise, could not be opened.
It offers T-shirts emblazoned with quotes from the new pope, including one with the words: "The Cardinal Ratzinger Fan Club. Putting the Smackdown on Heresy since 1981!"
Father Al Kimel is an Episcopal priest in the United States who runs a blog called "Pontifications", dedicated to discussing the relative attractions of Catholicism and eastern Orthodoxy.
His first posting following the election of Benedict XVI was much more spiritual than Blosser's. He ran the text of the Te Deum, an ancient hymn of praise.
One of the first comments was from a man who said: "Im not a Catholic, but when I heard that a new pope had been chosen, I prayed that it might be Cardinal Ratzinger. Are retrospective prayers valid!"
Another, apparently also not a Catholic, quipped: "It aint none of my business, but they made the right choice. God grant him many years!"
And a third said: "Gloria in excelsis Deo!! Pope Benedict XVI ROCKS!!! Putting the smack-down on heresy since 1981."
Over at "Titusonenine", conservative Episcopal theologian Canon Kendall Harmon filed no initial comment, but a couple of news reports on the election.
That sparked off a heated exchange of notes on how Ratzinger had written on behalf of John Paul II two years ago to encourage a new conservative Anglican organisation formed to combat what it believes is the departure of the Episcopal church from its orthodox roots.
Jimmy Akin, at JimmyAkin.org says: "How proud John Paul II would be if only he'd lived to see the election of Benedict XVI. (Oh wait. He already knows.)"
One poster replied: "I hope we start to see some real changes, real reform, in the Church, not just in a few isolated pockets like under John Paul the Great's papacy. I hope we finally have a Pope who will enforce Vatican directives and Church teachings, and do so without ambiguity."
Mark Shea, on his blog "Catholic and Enjoying It", was apparently eating his words over his prediction of who the new pope would be: "Never was I happier to be wrong! Long live Pope Benedict XVI!"