Cardinal Marc Ouellet responds to media at a news conference about his appointment by Pope Benedict XVI as Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops

Ouellet has tepid following at home

Word that a Canadian cardinal is a presumed contender to succeed Pope Benedict has been met with a mixed response in his own Quebec backyard.

MONTREAL — Word that a Canadian cardinal is a presumed contender to succeed Pope Benedict has been met with a mixed response in his own Quebec backyard.

Advocates for victims of sexual abuse by priests and even a member of the clergy aren’t quite in Marc Cardinal Ouellet’s cheering section.

The idea of a global icon emerging from here has stirred the local imagination.

But that excitement is tempered by the fact that Ouellet’s home province has become intensely secular and even anti-clerical over the years.

Rev. Raymond Gravel says amid this decline the Catholic church should be looking for a pope who has worked closely to the world’s poor — not another theologian.

The former Bloc Quebecois MP says he doesn’t know if Ouellet fits this bill.

Ouellet is being touted as one of the likeliest successors — perhaps even the favourite — to take over from Pope Benedict.

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