Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, one of the top candidates to be the successor to Pope Benedict XVI, has finally broken his silence and suggested in a television interview Monday that there were possibilities for a non-European to take the post.
He said that after Europe's long dominance of the papacy, it wouldn't be a surprise if the next pope comes from some other continent.
"There was a focus on Europe obviously for centuries, and centuries, and... someday it is to be expected that a pope would come from Asia, would come from Africa, would come from America," he told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.
"Nowadays it wouldn't be a surprise," he added.
The 68-year-old cardinal from a small town in Quebec said that he was getting "ready" for the prospect of being elected as pope in the coming days although he undermined his qualification in a humble tone saying others could be better candidate than himself.
"I have to be ready even if I think that probably others could do it better," he said in the interview.
In a separate interview with French-language CBC, he recognized that he was one of the top contenders to be the successor of Benedict, who stepped down March 1. He said he was "afraid" of the possibility of the prospect translating into reality.
"I can't think about the possibility. Reasonably, when I go into the conclave of cardinals, I have to say to myself, 'what if, what if...' It makes me reflect, it makes me pray, it makes me somewhat afraid. I am very conscious of the weight of the task," he said.
"So you have to be ready for any outcome, but I think a certain number of people have more chance of being elected than me."
Ouellet is joined by two other contenders from outside Europe who are among top candidates: Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of the Philippines and Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana.
There is no confirmation on when the conclave for election would begin although Italian media suggest that it could begin by March 10 or 11.
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