A Canadian has never been selected to be pope

Quebec Cardinal Marc Ouellet, who is considered by some to be a leading contender for the Vatican’s top post, says he knows he must be ready to become the next pope as cardinals prepare to select Benedict’s successor.

From his personal residence at the Vatican, Ouellet spoke with CBC’s Chief Correspondent Peter Mansbridge about the possibility of becoming the next pope and first non-European to ever hold the position.

“I have to be ready even if I think that probably others could do it better,” Ouellet said when asked if he wants to become the next pope.

“My name is circulating, but I am very careful to go beyond this sort of media expectations,” he said.

The interview airs on The National on Monday March 4 and Tuesday March 5 at 10 p.m. ET/10:30 p.m. NT on CBC-TV. It airs on CBC News Network at 9 p.m. ET/11 p.m. PT on both dates.

The selection of a Canadian as pontiff would be unprecedented. A non-European cardinal has never been chosen to lead the church. The conclave is expected to begin in mid-March — with a date to be announced soon.

Ouellet, considered by some to be a favourite for the position, is one of three Canadians — including Cardinal Thomas Collins from Toronto and Quebec Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte — who will participate in the conclave to select the next pope.