Sunday, March 10, 2013

Cardinal Marc Ouellet gives ‘bravura performance’

VATICAN CITY — Cardinal Marc Ouellet ambled across St. Peter’s Square Saturday afternoon unnoticed by swarms of pilgrims, tourists and journalists.

Thirty hours later the 68-year-old Canadian, who is among the favourites to be named as the next pope, was greeted by hundreds of journalists when he celebrated mass Sunday evening in a packed church 200 metres from the Vatican.

If Ouellet is chosen to succeed Benedict XVI as the Vicar of Christ at a papal conclave that is to begin Tuesday one can only imagine how much life will change for the burly prelate from the backwoods of Quebec. At a minimum the avid hockey player and fan will never again enjoy a leisurely stroll in St. Peter’s Square or a quiet vacation with his 91-year-old mother Graziella, or hunting and fishing with friends and relatives in his birthplace of La Motte, Que., a tiny village 500 kilometres northwest of Ottawa.

Parishioners who attended Ouellet’s mass at the Santa Maria in Traspontina Church in Rome on Sunday were unanimous that he had given a bravura performance. Speaking entirely in Italian at the local church assigned to him as cardinal-priest when he became one of the princes of the church is 2003, Ouellet said during his homily that God had already decided who the next pope would be and that the cardinals would simply be naming the one that He had already chosen.

VATICAN CITY

By Matthew Fisher,

Postmedia News

March 10, 2013