Canadian Cardinal Considered a Front-Runner for Next Pope
With this morning’s announcement that Pope Benedict XVI will step down at the end of February – the first pontiff to abdicate the position in nearly 600 years – comes news that a French Canadian cardinal is a front-runner to fill the vacancy.
Cardinal Marc Ouellet, 68, a former archbishop of Quebec City and current prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, is pegged by some observers as a top contender to become the next Bishop of Rome. Cardinal Ouelette’s appointment would make him the first pope not born in Europe.
A call to fill the chair of St. Peter’s successor would prove ironic for Ouelette. In 2010, when he was appointed prefect of the Congregation of Bishops, the former theology professor told reporters, “I don’t think that I will become a pope someday.”
Fast forward a year-and–a-half, and gambling websites are taking wagers on Cardinal Ouelette’s odds of becoming pontiff. The Gazette article pointed to two “British betting houses” putting him as the second best bet to succeed Pope Benedict XVI, at 1-3 and 2-5 odds respectively.
Pope Benedict XVI announced he was stepping down, “after having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, (recognizing) the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry.”