Raleigh, N.C. — Bishop Michael Burbidge of the Catholic Diocese of Raleigh – one of the fastest growing in the country – says he is a great admirer of Pope Benedict XVI. The last time he visited the Vatican, Benedict gave him a cross.
"It’s obviously a moment I will never forget," Burbidge said. "I will miss his consistency of teaching the truth with compassion."
Also unforgettable is all the history Burbidge has witnessed.
"Just think of what we have seen in our generation – election of a pope who only lives 30 days, the next pope coming from Poland (and) shot, the next pope 70 years of age, this pope resigned. You would have to wait hundreds of years to get all this history," he said.
As the cardinals pray, discern and vote, they will elect the next Bishop of Rome – an ambassador for the church and a leader of 1.2 billion members, including about 950,000 in North Carolina.
"That very moment the gospel truly comes to life … there is nothing like it," Burbidge said.