One hundred and fifteen Roman Catholic cardinals have assembled in Rome to begin the work of electing a successor to Pope Benedict. The new pontiff will be elected from amongst them and speculation began weeks ago as to who it might be. Betting on who will be named the new pope goes back many centuries -- one pope issued an edict against it in 1591. But the oddsmakers are at it again, placing Canadian cardinal Marc Ouellet at number four, or with about a 12% chance of gettting the RC's top job. In 2005 cardinal Ratzinger was in the top three, so the bookies are not bad at this.
I joked on Twitter a while back that if Ouellet was elected he would be called the poutine rather than the pontiff, but this is no laughing matter (okay, you weren't laughing anyway.) In an interview with the CBC's Peter Manbridge the other night Ouellet was less than impressive. He seemed ill at ease in the interview. He offered that the church now has better checks and balances for dealing with sexual abuse and they have learned how to respond to victims more effectively. That hardly seems like an adequate response to the horrible betrayal of trust in the church. Oullet has also been clear that while the church needs to "get with the times" in terms of the role of women, he is opposed to the ordination of women. He has made strong statements on homosexuality and abortion which suggest that he if very much in line with Benedict.
Of course many agree with him on these issues, but we can't expect much of a change if the Canadian becomes the pope. He is younger than his predecessor but at 68 he is hardly in the flower of his youth.
Are you following this election? Would you like to see a Canadian as pope? Does the Roman Catholic church need progressive leadership? Where should the pope come from?