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Published: Jul 7, 2007
Pope Benedict XVI Winning Hearts And Money
by Staff

Contributions to the Roman Catholic Church have almost doubled under Pope Benedict XVI and the number of pilgrims in Rome has reached record levels.

These figures suggest that the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, nicknamed "Cardinal Rottweiler" by his enemies, is unexpectedly popular with the Catholic rank and file, The Times of London reported Saturday.

At least some of Benedict's popularity may come from his long association with Pope John Paul II.

"Ratzinger was John Paul's closest adviser for over two decades, and many of his initiatives as Pope -- including the Tridentine Mass -- are developments of John Paul's own ideas," said Andrea Tornielli, who has written biographies of several popes, including Benedict.

At 80, Benedict does far less traveling than John Paul did during most of his papacy. His admirers say his simple and direct manner and the warmth he has gained since his elevation have won over many of the faithful. (c) UPI

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