© 2024 St. Louis Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Archbishop Burke Pleased With New Pope

Pope Benedict visited New York in April 2008.
File photo
Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany, waves from a balcony of St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican after being elected by the conclave of cardinals on Tuesday. (Reuters photo)

By Kevin Lavery & Matt Sepic, KWMU

St. Louis, MO. – St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke says he's pleased with the selection of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as the new Pope Benedict XVI.

Speaking with reporters Tuesday, Burke said the speedy election shows unity in the Catholic hierarchy. "It sends a message that the cardinals themselves are unified in their own thinking about what the church needs at this time and it's also a great vote of confidence in Cardinal Ratzinger to succeed Pope John Paul II, that they would elect him so quickly."

Burke worked at the Vatican in the early 1990s and had some contact with Ratzinger. The archbishop says he found the new pope to be a compassionate and gentle person.

Burke adds he believes the 78-year old pope is in good health and can withstand the rigors of his new job.

Burke also said Pope Benedict is not an ultraconservative ideologue, but rather someone who is steeped in Catholic tradition and faith.

Some observers expressed disappointment that the new pope was not chosen from the developing world, where Catholicism is growing the fastest. But St. Louis Auxiliary Bishop Robert Hermann points out that John Paul II was unknown outside of Poland: "Yet, he opened up the world; Africa and South America, to the teachings of the Church in an unprecedented manner," Hermann said.

"So it's not where they're from, it's if they're guided by the Holy Spirit."