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Enter a pope, leave a cardinal

March 7, 2013
Cardinal Marc Ouellet with Peter Mansbridge and cameraman Dave Rae. (Sebastian Gomes)
CBC. Standing on the rooftop of his apartment building in Vatican City, Marc Ouellet pointed across St. Peter's Square towards the building that houses the Pope's residence.
"I used to come up here often in the evenings and I'd always see the lights on, because His Holiness was working," the 68-year-old cardinal from the tiny Quebec village of La Motte told me.
"Now I've come up for the past few nights and all the lights are off."
We know why of course. Benedict has left the building. He's resigned the papacy and the lights won't go back on until he's replaced. Looking at Cardinal Ouellet you can't help but wonder about the thing he won't really talk about. Could he be the one who turns those lights back on? Could he be the next pope, breaking the centuries of tradition of European popes by becoming the first Canadian pope?
There's no doubt he's a contender. And that's not just self-serving patriotic Canadian chatter.  Odds makers around the world have called him one of the four or five most likely to become the next Bishop of Rome. Ouellet reminded me though of that old joke analysts like to tell about contenders heading to the conclave that picks the next pope. Somehow it's even funnier coming from a Cardinal, especially one who is a contender. It goes like this:
"You go in a pope, you come out a cardinal!" ...read more

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