The College of Cardinals is rushing to fill the vacant spot at the Vatican, left by Pope Benedict XVI when he resigned at the end of February.
Normally, there would be a waiting period of about 15 to 20 days before a new pontiff could take the throne but Benedict amended this part of the 500-year-old constitution in order to speed up the process. Cardinals are antsy because they want to ensure that the position is filled in time for Palm Sunday celebrations.
The reported front-runner that has everyone talking here at home is Cardinal Marc Ouellet of Quebec, who would become the first North American pope if selected. He was quoted as saying, “I have to be ready even if I think that probably others could do it better.”
Ouellet has many religious accomplishments tucked under his belt and is highly regarded not only in the Quebec religious community but around the world, too. He also speaks six languages — not bad for a man from a small town called La Motte.
However, I find it hard to come out and say that he would be the right choice. I find it hard to say that any of these men would be the right choice.
It seems that whether a cardinal is European, African or North American, a lot of them stand for the same things. They reek of hypocrisy.
Ouellet is known for sitting nice and snug on the far right on issues like birth control, abortion, same-sex marriage and women in the priesthood. This is not what the Catholic Church needs.
These men sit in the Vatican, their jaws hang open and they scratch their heads as to why their religion is losing so much popularity.
Maybe it’s because you are preaching from a book written 3,500 years ago, taking it out of context to suit your needs.
Polls show that North American Catholics feel out of touch with the messages coming out of the Vatican. A CBS poll shows that 66 per cent of the 580 Catholics asked say they want a younger pope, with 54 per cent saying they want a pope with liberal ideas, including allowing priests to marry.
Regardless, the Vatican has very little power, if any. The same poll showed that 83 per cent of Catholics did not think it was important to agree with its teachings. The Vatican does, however, influence the image of practicing Catholics everywhere.
Ouellet coming from North America makes no difference. In 2012, at an anti-abortion rally, Ouellet said that rape victims should be denied the option of abortion. “There’s already a victim. Should we be making another one?” he said.
When he was attacked by the media and politicians, this was his apology: “The message of the truth is not always welcome.”
It seems the messages of truth, love and acceptance aren’t always welcome in the Catholic Church either.
You know what I think the Vatican should try? Maybe elect someone younger who will liberalize the church’s stance on many issues and nudge them into the 21st century.
That doesn’t seem like it is going to happen, and that’s why the election of a new pope means nothing to me, because the Vatican will continue spreading its stale words. This is one time I’d like to be proven wrong.