ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – It is a big week at the Vatican with the Pope’s resignation taking effect on Thursday and a possible new Pope being elected not too long after that. Taking part in it all are several St. Louisians.

St. Louisian John Walter was in Vatican Square Sunday to witness Pope Benedict XVI’s final blessing from his window.

“Maybe a Pope who is a little bit younger, I think would be a great fit,” Walter said.

St. Louis native Gregory Burke is now a Vatican spokesman and says the Pope is content with his decision to leave.

“He’s calmer than ever and I think it’s a lesson for all of us,” Burke said. “You make a decision in conscience, even a very difficult decision, and you’re at peace. I think he’s calmer than he’s ever been.”

St. Louis Archbishop Emeritus, now Vatican Cardinal Raymond Burke, is already in Rome. Former St. Louis Archbishop Cardinal Justin Rigali and St. Louis native – now New York Cardinal – Timothy Dolan leave for the Vatican Tuesday afternoon as they prepare to meet personally with the Pope sometime Thursday. They will then go into the conclave to choose his successor.

“As the Holy See’s secretary of state pointed out yesterday, obviously people are trying to influence the election,” Burke said in response to recent scandals which threaten to mar Benedict’s final days as Pope.


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