Files by Alex Fuller
Compiled by Lime Blake
Cardinals worldwide gathered in the Sistine Chapel Monday, marking the start of 2013’s conclave to elect the next pope.
As Roman Catholics everywhere anticipated the traditional stream of white smoke from the Vatican’s chimney to signify a papal selection, residents of Cardinal Marc Ouellet’s hometown, La Motte, Que., gathered in a buzz of excitement and fear over the possible outcome, according to The Toronto Star.
“Everyone is proud of him, but people are wondering: What are the consequences?” La Motte mayor, Rene Martineau, told the Toronto Star.
Included in the report, Martineau said that he and another resident of La Motte had read about how the hometowns of the previous two popes exploded with tourism and religious pilgrimages of up to 500,000 faithful people, annually.
The National Post reported in an interview with Ouellet’s younger brother, Roch, that the Montreal Cardinal hadn’t lived in the sleepy village of 439 people in a number of decades. Though Ouellet typically visits his siblings and 90-year-old mother twice a year, Roch and family fear that the “intimate moments” big brother Marc shared with his family will no longer occur.
“We’re quite frank about it as a family,” Roch told the National Post. In place of a pope, “we would prefer to have a brother.”
“But his path belongs to him. We totally respect it,” Roch told the Post.
Professor of religious history at the University of Toronto’s School of Theology, Terence Fay, told @HumberNews reporter Alex Fuller that while this year’s papal election is just as consistent in tradition as it was over 2,000 years ago, he thinks part of tomorrow’s conclave is meant for Cardinals to pray to recognize problems within the church and Vatican. Its other purpose is to choose someone who is capable enough to amend the crises within the Roman Catholic Church, such as last year’s “Vatileaks” scandal, as well as numerous counts of sexual abuse.
“There are a lot of choices out of the 155 [candidates],” Fay said, adding Ouellet had many great qualities about him, including he was a learned linguist with plenty of world experience. However, when asked about the chances of Ouellet becoming pope, Fay said, “We’ll see.”
Associate professor of Ryerson’s department of History, Martin Grieg, told @HumberNews reporter Alex Fuller that similar to that of the conclave after previous pope John Paul II’s death, the potential of candidates is “opening up to a pretty wide field” with seemingly no one candidate seen as a potential front runner.
While Canadian news makers have placed Ouellet centre stage, Grieg said the Cardinals must meet in secrecy within the Sistine Chapel, where they vote once in the morning and once at night without any access to the outside world so that they are not influenced by the media – including Facebook and Twitter.
“The idea is to focus and concentrate on trying to choose the next pope, so they keep voting until there’s a clear majority,” Grieg said.
It is uncertain if the village of La Motte will see an increase in tourism if Ouellet becomes pope, but if the inevitable occurs, residents hope that the promotion of the Montreal Cardinal will inspire an influx of Catholicism among Quebecers, the Star reported.