Here’s a series on some of the Cardinals who will be entering the conclave. I’m going to write about them as I research them. They are in no particular order, and although I’ve written about an African papacy, it’s not for me to prophecy, prognosticate or predict, but to pray.
Nevertheless, it’s good to know who the Cardinals are. I’m going to write about some of the so called papabile –those the pundits are suggesting, as well as some cardinals who are unknown.
The first on my list (but not necessarily my first pick–as if that mattered anyway!) is Cardinal Marc Ouellet of Quebec. He will be 69 years old in June. He is presently Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops. He therefore is in charge of that part of the curia who oversee the selection of bishops for dioceses around the world. He is also in charge of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America. He has also served as secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. Marc, Cardinal Ouellet holds a licentiate in philosophy and a doctorate in dogmatic theology. He has spent much of his ministry teaching or being rector of seminaries, and it is said that he is fluent in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and German.
Cardinal Ouellet is known for being conservative but not a hardliner. As prefect of the Congregation for Bishops he would have been involved in the promotion of bishops like Timothy Dolan to New York and Charles Chaput to Philadelphia. In addition to being Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops and the Pontifical Commission on Latin America he serves on a long list of other curial commissions, councils and committees.
As a possible pope he would make an interesting choice–being a French Canadian he shares in European culture in a way most North Americans do not, and yet he is from the New World. With his experience as a missionary in Latin America and as President of the Pontifical Commission on Latin America he is experienced with the needs of the church in the developing world. With a strong theological and philosophical background he can hold his own as an academic, and if he is really fluent in six or seven languages he would be able to cope with the increasing international demands of the papacy.
He has said that he does not covet the job and that “being pope would be a nightmare.” So add realism to his list of credits…