Quebec, July 26, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Pope Benedict XVI has appointed three strong pro-life and orthodox bishops in Quebec in the last two weeks. The appointments appear to confirm the beginning of a massive sea change for the province in the wake of Cardinal Marc Ouellet’s appointment as head of the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops.
On Tuesday, the pope announced that Bishop Luc Cyr of Valleyfield will take over as Archbishop of Sherbrooke. Among other strong statements of his pro-life and orthodox views, Bishop Cyr has travelled to the National March for Life in Ottawa, and has defended the Vatican’s decision to bar men with deep-seated homosexual attraction from the priesthood.
This latest appointment comes after the July 11th appointments of Fr. Christian Lepine and Rev. Thomas Dowd as auxiliary bishops of Montreal.
Rev. Lepine is known to pro-life and pro-family advocates for having attended pro-life conferences and shown support for reparative therapy for those experiencing unwanted homosexual attractions. In the fall of 2009, his parish was at the centre of media controversy in Quebec after they hosted a session for parents on how to instill an integrated sexual identity in their children. He had to cancel the last two sessions of the series after homosexual activists threatened to protest.
Fr. Dowd, whose status as Canada’s first blogging priest has sparked a great deal of media coverage following his episcopal appointment, has shown himself to be unafraid to tackle the key issues of our time, such as abortion and homosexual marriage. He has promoted Humanae vitae, and made headlines when he addressed the concerning debacle of Fr. Raymond Gravel’s election to Canada’s Parliament.
Church watchers had predicted that Ouellet’s appointment last year as prefect of the Congregation for Bishops would have a major positive influence on his home province, where Church leaders have for the last several decades been a leading force in the spread of liberalism throughout the Church in Canada.
Notably, in his first two years Ouellet will have had a hand in naming the heads of nine of Quebec’s 19 dioceses, including four out of its five major ‘metropolitan’ sees, due to the current bishops of those sees reaching the mandatory retirement age of 75.
Before taking up the position last summer, Ouellet had emphasized that bishops “need spiritual discernment and not just political calculation of the risk of the possibility of the message being received.” “We have to dare to speak to the deep heart, where the Spirit of the Lord is touching people beyond what we can calculate,” he said.
These comments came in the wake of a massive backlash against him in Quebec after he reiterated the Church’s teaching that abortion is wrong in all circumstances, even in cases of rape.
Perhaps Cardinal Ouellet’s most significant appointment to date was that of his successor as Archbishop of Quebec City, Gerald LaCroix, who has shown himself to be a valiant defender of life. Ouellet will also soon have a hand in choosing a replacement for Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte of Montreal, who recently submitted his resignation at the mandatory retirement age.