Following are experts who can discuss the election of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany as the new pope, and what it means to the future of the Catholic Church:
**1. FR. JOSEPH FESSIO S.J., provost of AVE MARIA UNIVERSITY and editor-in- chief of IGNATIUS PRESS, is a long-time personal friend Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who was today named as Pope Benedict XVI. Ratzinger was Fr. Fessio's doctoral director and mentor at the University of Regensburg in then West Germany from 1972-1975. As a member of Ratzinger's "Schulerkreis," or group of former students, Fr. Fessio participated in many of yearly three-day- long gatherings of that group.
**2. FRANCESCO D. CESAREO, dean of the McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts at DUQUESNE UNIVERSITY, met Pope Benedict XVI in 1998 and 2002: "I think that we will see a theological continuity between Pope John Paul II's and Benedict XVI's papacies. Perhaps we'll also see a side of this new pope that we didn't see when he was the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. We'll see an attempt of Pope Benedict XVI to really reach out and build bridges, and I think that the name 'Benedict' signifies that." The last five popes named Benedict, according to Cesareo, each tried to reconcile various factions that were plaguing the Church. "If the name Benedict means anything, there is a pattern there that we may see emerge." Cesareo, who speaks Italian fluently, is a scholarly expert on the papacy, Church history and current Church issues.
**3. MAUREEN TILLEY, associate professor of religious studies at the UNIVERSITY OF DAYTON, is knowledgeable about the history of the Vatican and papal procedures: "It is significant that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger chose the name Benedict. It is a name not used since the reign of Benedict XV (1914-22). Benedict XV desired to be remembered as the pope of peace who tried to restore European civilization to a peaceful, almost idealized, past. Ratzinger's taking this name seems to portend a crusade to recapture Europe for the Church, an effort begun under John Paul II in the face of two factors: the marginalization of religion in European culture generally, and the European Union's failure to make a place for religion in its constitutional documents. The third factor is the increasing number of Western Europeans who no longer practice Christianity."
**4. WILLIAM PORTIER, Mary Ann Spearin Chair of Catholic theology and professor of religious studies at the UNIVERSITY OF DAYTON: "He took the name Benedict XVI. It is instructive to recall that Benedict XV followed Pius X at the time of the beginning of World War I. Theologically, he dismantled the theological engines of anti-modernist repression put in place by his predecessor. He is best known for his efforts for peace during and after World War I. I find the new pope's choice of name very encouraging."
**5. DR. PAUL F. LAKELAND is Aloysius P. Kelley, S.J. Professor of Catholic Studies at FAIRFIELD UNIVERSITY and author of several books, including "The Liberation of the Laity: In Search of an Accountable Church." He's currently writing "Being Adult, Being Catholic: The Lay Vocation in Today's Church": "The Cardinals made a cautious, and perhaps disappointing, choice for continuity. Their election of Cardinal Ratzinger signifies that attention to the needs of the Two-Thirds World, the concerns of the North American Church, and collegiality are less important to them than maintaining the path that Pope John Paul II laid down. While Pope Benedict XVI is conservative on most issues, as a good theologian, he may surprise us."
**6. DR. NANCY A. DALLAVALLE, associate professor of religious studies at FAIRFIELD UNIVERSITY, teaches a course on John Paul II, is the author of scholarly articles on the trinity -- Karl Rahner, Catholicism and feminism -- and is a member of the Diocesan Pastoral Council, Diocese of Bridgeport: "The cardinals faced a number of issues in this conclave, many with no clear-cut answers -- the worldwide resurgence of Islam, global poverty and the challenges of new technologies. With the election of Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, they clearly have chosen, primarily, to focus on those things about which the cardinals are in general agreement -- rejection of secularization, a re-affirmation of traditionalist positions on women and the family, and a narrow reading of doctrine regarding sexual and bioethical issues. He will strengthen the administrative structure of the Vatican, but with an eye to clarity and discipline rather than creativity and vision. This election comes as a somewhat bitter pill for those who looked for a more pastoral figure or one who would be open to dialogue; the one enigmatic and, perhaps hopeful note, is his choice of the name Benedict -- I suspect that the real import of this choice remains to be seen."
**7. DR. TIMOTHY THIBODEAU, professor of history at NAZARETH COLLEGE in Rochester, N.Y., is an expert on the history of the Catholic Church and papal history. He has been published numerous times discussing medieval canon (Church) law and has a forthcoming chapter in the Oxford History of Christian Worship (on the medieval Church). He can talk about the future of the Catholic Church.
**8. DR. MAX BONILLA, vice president of academic affairs at FRANCISCAN UNIVERSITY OF STEUBENVILLE (Dean of the Faculty), is a noted theologian who lived in Rome from 1988 to 1996, during which time he established lasting contacts with several Vatican officials. He has written and researched extensively on the works of Pope John Paul II and recently appeared in a television special for Univision on Pope John Paul II that was broadcast throughout South and North America. Bonilla has been a regular contributor on American and Spanish TV and radio programs.
**9. DR. SCOTT HAHN has been a professor of biblical theology at FRANCISCAN UNIVERSITY OF STEUBENVILLE since 1990. He is the founder of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, a research center and think tank committed to promoting biblical literacy among the Catholic laity and clergy. Hahn is a former ordained Presbyterian minister with 10 years of ministry experience in congregations. He entered the Catholic Church on Easter 1986. A popular speaker, Hahn has given over 800 talks in the U.S. and other countries on topics related to the Catholic faith. He has also written numerous books including the story of his entrance into the Catholic Church, "Rome, Sweet Home" (with Kimberly Hahn), as well as "First Comes Love: Finding Your Family in the Church and the Trinity" ; "Lord, Have Mercy: The Healing Power of Confession" ; and "Swear to God: The Promise and Power of the Sacraments," published by Doubleday.
**10. DR. MARK MIRAVALLE, professor of theology and Mariology at FRANCISCAN UNIVERSITY OF STEUBENVILLE, was a trusted advisor to John Paul II. He received his doctorate in sacred theology from St. Thomas University (the Angelicum) in Rome, and is the founder of Vox Populi Mariae Mediatrici (Voice of the People for Mary Mediatrix), an international Marian movement that received much attention from Pope John Paul II. Miravalle has lectured to audiences in over a dozen countries on Mariology and Marian apparitions. He is a regular contributor to programs on EWTN global television and other religious and secular media and the author of several books including, "Medjugorje and the Family: Helping Families to Live the Message."
**11. DR. ALAN SCHRECK is chairman of the theology department at FRANCISCAN UNIVERSITY OF STEUBENVILLE. He has written extensively on the workings of the Catholic Church, especially in regards to Vatican II, and has helped articulate Pope John Paul II's vision for the Church to professional and lay audiences. Schreck is a co-host at Franciscan University of Steubenville's Defending the Faith apologetics conference, which annually draws 1,500 participants, and is the author of several popular books, including "The Essential Catholic Catechism" and "Catholic Church History From A to Z."
**12. SISTER M. JOHANNA PARUCH, FSGM, holds an M.A. from the PONTIFICAL UNIVERSITY OF ST. THOMAS AQUINAS (Angelicum) in Rome, Italy, and a Pontifical Catechetical Diploma. A professor at Franciscan University of Steubenville since 1999, Sr. Paruch has been involved in every aspect of catechesis and travels throughout the country presenting workshops in parishes and other Catholic groups. She has spoken on programs such as Scarborough Country on MSNBC about women in the Church, homosexuality, and other moral issues and topics related to the handing down of the Catholic faith. Sr. Paruch is a regular contributor to Sower magazine, Birmingham, England, published by the Maryvale Institute.
**13. PASTOR BENNY HINN of BENNY HINN MINISTRIES can comment on the election of the new pope and the future of the Catholic Church.
**14. DENNIS DOYLE is a professor of religious studies at UNIVERSITY OF DAYTON and author of "The Church Emerging from Vatican II: A Popular Approach to Contemporary Catholicism."
**15. TERRENCE TILLEY is a professor of religious studies at the UNIVERSITY OF DAYTON.
**16. FATHER JIM HEFT, S.M. is chancellor and professor of faith and culture at the UNIVERSITY OF DAYTON and editor of "Beyond Violence: Religious Sources for Social Transformation in Judaism, Christianity and Islam."
**17. SANDRA YOCUM MIZE is chair of the religious studies department at the UNIVERSITY OF DAYTON.
**18. SISTER ANGELA ANN ZUKOWSKI, M.H.S.H. isdirector of the Institute for Pastoral Initiatives at the UNIVERSITY OF DAYTON and the first woman with voting privileges on the Pontifical Council for Social Communication at the Vatican.
**19. REV. DAVID COLLINS, S.J., papal historian and Jesuit priest at GEORGETOWN UNIVERSTIY, did his scholarly work in the diocese of the new Pope Benedict XVI and can comment both on Germany and the new pope's former diocese, as well as give insight into his choice of name.
**20. JOHN VOLL, director of GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY's Center for Muslim- Christian Understanding, is an expert on Muslim-Christian relations and can talk about the importance of this issue for the Catholic Church as it moves forward.
**21. REV. PETER PHAN Ignacio Ellacuria, SJ Professor of Catholic Social Thought in GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY'S theology department, is an expert on Catholicism in Asia and the author of "Christianity with an Asian Face: Asian American Theology in the Making."
**22. DOLORES LECKEY is a senior fellow of the Woodstock Theological Center at GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY.
**23. REV. JOHN LANGAN is S.J. Cardinal Bernadin Chair of Catholic Social Thought of the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY.
**24. CLAUDE D'ESTREE is a professor in the Graduate School of International Students and the College of Law at the UNIVERSITY OF DENVER. d'Estree's focal interest is comparative spirituality and the role that religion plays in international conflicts and conflict resolution.
**25. GREG ROBBINS, professor of religious studies at the UNIVERSITY OF DENVER, is an expert on Christianity and is available to speak on issues of papal succession.
**26. CARL RASCHKE, chair of religious studies at the UNIVERSITY OF DENVER, teaches courses on topics such as modern religious thought, religion and culture, and religion and the media.
**27. J. PATOUT BURNS, Edward A. Malloy Professor of Catholic Studies at the VANDERBILT DIVINITY SCHOOL, has taught courses including "Historical Introduction to Catholicism" and "Formation of the Catholic Tradition." His research has focused on Roman Catholicism and Christianity in Roman Africa.