The Italian Almanac

Benedict XVI

Italian News - April 20

The home Web page of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger's fan club crashed after his election as pope yesterday amid a flood of interest in the new leader of the world's 1.1 billion Roman Catholics.

The site, www.ratzingerfanclub.com, featuring biographical information about the man now known as Pope Benedict XVI, speeches and glowing praise from his followers could not be opened after the announcement in Rome.

Those interested in buying a Cardinal Ratzinger Fan Club T-shirt featuring quotes from the new pope online will also have to wait until the site is up and running again. One T-shirt is emblazoned with the words: "The Cardinal Ratzinger Fan Club. Putting the Smackdown on Heresy since 1981!"