Two Cardinals with St. Louis connections were center stage this morning as Pope Benedict said his final farewell. The Pope says he will pray for his cardinals as they choose his successor.
Cardinal-Emeritus Justin Rigali of Philadelphia, the former and 7th Archbishop of St, Louis, joined Ballwin native Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York in an interview with ABC's "Good Morning America."
George Stephanopoulos asked Rigali about speculation Dolan could be chosen to succeed Pope Benedict XVI:
"Stephanopoulos: He's on everyone's short list just about to be the pope. Rigali Well I think (Dolan laughs) we'll have to let the Holy Spirit decide that (Dolan laughs) You can see he has many virtues."
Benedict met with the cardinals as part of his final day as pontiff before retiring. Benedict promised "unconditional reverence and obedience" to his successor.
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.