A Cardinals Who’s Who – 1

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…


  • Scott

    Hi Father!

    Thank you very much for this. I’ll love to read the rest of your entries.

    However, if I may make one small suggestion, may you please put in a little blip (if available) about how the Cardinal views the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite? Positively, negatively, neutrally?

    Just a small suggestion!

  • Mary

    Lot of good candidates for them to choose from…I still think it is time for another Italian. Been over 30 years since an Italian was pope. Here is a list of the, currently, top 5 contenders…well according to US today anyway :-) and the French-Canadian Cardinal is right up there.


  • Caroline

    I think we need someone the media would describe as hardline. Sometimes being hardline is the best thing for souls. We also need someone with a deep appreciation of lex orandi, lex credendi and the liturgy. Of course, I say this as a laywoman with no authority, but also as a young Catholic who was convinced during her childhood by the general sense of disrespect for the liturgy that Mass didn’t matter. I’m not talking clown Masses but your run-of-the-mill girl altar boys, six EMHCs, Mass of Creation Mass. I honestly think the Traditional Latin Mass is a HUGE part of the future of the Church, as is a revival of Catechesis. Please get rid of Benziger, another faith destroyer.

  • FW Ken

    I’m perfectly content with the Mass of Paul VI, but am wondering what constitutes being a “hardliner”.

    • JPD

      The Mass of Paul VI needs to be made stronger, and the extraordinary form will help in that process. However, the Mass of Paul the VI, was certainly an attempt by Bugnini to protestantize the Sacred Liturgy.

      “What happened after the Council was something else entirely: in the place of liturgy as the fruit of development came fabricated liturgy. We abandoned the organic, living process of growth and development over the centuries, and replaced it–as in a manufacturing process–with a fabrication, a banal on- the-spot product.” (Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger)

  • Michael Roger

    Even Cardinal Oullet gets it wrong. He thought he got it right saying “[the papacy] would be a nightmare”, but even still, the best comment is “no comment”.

    But this article, while not totally disapproving, is written in better form than the article covering the African Pope. At the end of the day, everything which can be said of the next potential-Pope is irrelevant. The only relevant thing to day is not to speculate or moderate or even report, but to Pray. Pray that your own/my own/our own Wills can be conformed to the Will of God in whom He chooses for Himself as our next Pope.

    Remember, this Pope is there to carry out God’s mission to us, and to provide what He wants us/needs us to learn about ourselves. He isn’t there to ‘provide for the common good’, or mediate poverty, or any other kind of appeasement, he is there because God has placed him in charge to see to it that we receive what God has dictated we shall receive. It is a Kingdom, not a Democracy. We have no say. We also do not live in time-eternal, in the Cairos. How could we possibly know what we need – what with so many moving parts?

    All of the so-called skills and talents a Cardinal, or any individual, may have are not to “useless”, but irrelevant. They do not factor into what God wants for us. God wants what God wants. God will get what God wants. Think more like soldiers rather than citizens.

    • Quanah

      So the cardinals do not have free will? They’re just instruments that write whatever name God wants them to write on a piece of paper?

  • Keith

    Father, would you show us phonetically how to pronounce Cardinal Ouellet’s name?

  • Darren O.

    Ouellet is pronounced Waallet, Woollet, Ou-elle-et (this is the closest). Among the Canadian anglos, it’s Oh-let, to whom it will invariably have to be spelled out.

    The first Ouellet, was a fella named Rene Ouellet, who landed in New France (Quebec) in 1655. He was born in Paris, with a family name of d’Houlet (wiki-pea has it as Hoûallet). Not exactly sure why, but family history says that the priest in charge of registering him at the new parish thought it prudent to rename him. He was married twice, with children from both marriages. It is a fairly common name among French Canadians.

  • http://rosarynovice.stblogs.com/ Augustine

    The good cardinal beat me by one language! Must… pick up… Latin… Wait, I’d bet that the cardinal’s well-versed in Latin too. Dang!
    Probably, like myself, having a Romance language as his mother tongue allowed him to dabble in other Romance languages. But German? I tried…

  • Mary

    Who will be #2 profiled? Best hurry Father or we will have a pope before the candidates get profiled! I expect this to be a very quick conclave.

  • Mary

    Oje Augustine! Deutsche ist nicht so schwer…. aber sprechst du Englisch mit Deutscheworte…. lach ;-)