World

The mayor of Marktl am Inn, the tiny village in Upper Bavaria where Pope Benedict XVI was born, is surprised to hear his village’s favorite son will be stepping down, but says it won’t be bad for business. “I saw him last year in Rome for his 85th birthday, and he seemed in good mental and physical shape” recalls Hubert Gschwendtner. “So, yes, this was completely unexpected. It is a shame. It is a loss.”

But Gschwendtner says he still expects that Marktl am Inn will be a top destination for tourists and pilgrims. Marktl am Inn is a village of less than 3,000 souls, but it now attracts about 100,000 tourists per year; last year, 20,000 people visited the Pope’s birth home alone, according to Gschwendtner. “It was double that in the first two years of his papacy, but it has leveled off now and we really don’t expect…

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