In final moments before conclave, Cardinal Ouellet makes a call for unity
Canada’s Marc Ouellet and the 114 other elector cardinals enjoyed their last moments of freedom and peace before they disappear Tuesday afternoon into the Vatican’s most hallowed chambers, only to emerge when they have selected the man among them that they judge best suited to guide the battered Catholic Church into a new era.
On Sunday and Monday, cardinals were spotted here and there, some scurrying across St. Peter’s Square, others celebrating masses. At least one was seen walking down the narrow streets just beyond Vatican City, apparently making a quick getaway from the whole mad scene.
The men in the elegant black cassocks, with their red sashes and red caps, are under enormous pressure because there is no obvious front-runner to replace Pope Benedict XVI, who shocked the world when he announced his retirement on Feb. 11, the first pope to do so in almost 600 years. It is likely that some of the cardinals – 24 of whom were appointed just last year and are only now connecting names with faces – still have little idea whom they will endorse.
Cardinal Ouellet was seen in public no fewer than three times since Saturday, twice moving through the vast St. Peter’s Square, where he reportedly elicited little attention, and at Santa Maria in Traspontina church Sunday night, where he celebrated mass before a throng of photographers – but said nothing to the media. Even though the church is no more than a 10-minute walk from St. Peter’s Basilica, he arrived by car. (Source: Globe & Mail)