There is talk that an American could be next in line for the papal office now that Pope Benedict the sixteenth is stepping down from his office at the end of the month. He is the first Pope to resign in 600 years.
Monday morning, Ballwin, Missouri native and New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan reflected on the possibility that he could be moving to Rome sometime soon. Dolan says, "Well it's awesome, you're right. I really .. I mean theoretically I've known that since I was made a cardinal last year that that would be one of the awesome responsibilities, but it's not something you think about. I don't have any insider information, but I would presume that his esteem for the office as the successor of Saint Peter and the chief pastor of the church universal ... that esteem is so high that in all humility he simply said, I can't do it anymore."
Cardinal Dolan. along with Cardinal Raymond Burke, the former archbishop of the St. Louis Archdiocese are two of seven Americans in the College of Cardinals who can vote for the next pope . Dolan says he believes 85-year-old Pope Benedic's health is not the best, "He knows he's getting a little wobbly. When he was elected as successor of St. Peter in 2005, he shrugged and said to his fellow cardinals, boy, I sure don't have the strength and the durability that blessed John Paul the Second had. So he's been well aware of his frailty."
Church insiders say Italian cardinals are more likely to succeed. The pope's resignation sets the stage for a conclave to elect a new pope before the end of March.
I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church.
After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering.
Pope Benedict XVI Sends First Tweet Watch Video However, in today's world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfil the ministry entrusted to me.
For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.
Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.
From the Vatican, 10 February 2013 BENEDICTUS PP XVI
The 85 year old pope announced his decision in Latin during a meeting of Vatican cardinals on Monday morning.
He emphasized that carrying out the duties of being pope — the leader of more than a billion Roman Catholics worldwide — requires "both strength of mind and body."
"After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths due to an advanced age are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry," he told the cardinals. "I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only by words and deeds but no less with prayer and suffering.
"However, in today's world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of St. Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary — strengths which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me."
The last pope to resign was Pope Gregory XII, who stepped down in 1415 in a deal to end the Great Western Schism among competing papal claimants.
Benedict called his choice "a decision of great importance for the life of the church."
The move sets the stage for the Vatican to hold a conclave to elect a new pope by mid-March, since the traditional mourning time that would follow the death of a pope doesn't have to be observed.
There are several papal contenders in the wings, but no obvious front-runner — the same situation when Benedict was elected pontiff in 2005 after the death of Pope John Paul II.
Missouri now lets voters cast absentee ballots only if they swear they cannot go to the polls on Election Day or meet other, limited criteria. But the state has no general provision for early voting, which Kander says could help ease long lines at the polls.
Kander's appointed commission will meet throughout February to study the merits of early voting and evaluate what he says would be the efficient, fair and secure way to allow the practice.
Besides county clerks, the panel also includes former state lawmakers, the mayor of Joplin, a county elections director and private citizens.