New Canadian cardinal is outspoken defender of life and family
QUEBEC CITY, January 13, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The lone bishop from North America on the list of new cardinals appointed by Pope Francis for the consistory in Rome next month is an outspoken defender of life and family who has faithfully attended Canada’s National March for Life.
Cardinal-designate Gerald Lacroix, Archbishop of Quebec City and Primate of Canada, was hand-picked for the nation’s oldest see by Cardinal Marc Ouellet when he departed for the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops in 2010.
Before his appointment as archbishop, Lacroix risked the ire of Quebec’s media when he defended comments made by Ouellet in the spring of 2010 stating that abortion is wrong in all cases, including rape.
Though Ouellet had merely spelled out Church teaching, his remark had sparked a firestorm in the province, prompting the unanimous passage of a motion in the province’s legislature upholding “the right of women to free choice and to free and accessible abortion services.”
Lacroix attended his first March for Life in Ottawa in 2011, less than two months after he took over the Quebec Archdiocese.
Every year he has offered Mass in French on the morning of the March and attended the evening’s Rose Dinner. He makes a point to address the Youth Banquet, which occurs across the hall from the Rose Dinner and is emceed by LifeSiteNews.com Editor-in-Chief John-Henry Westen.
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At the 2013 Youth Banquet the archbishop urged the teens, of which there were nearly 1,000, to “stand up and do all you can to respect life, every life, every human being.” Concern for the environment, he said, must come after concern for the “most precious gift of all of the created world: human life.”
At the 2011 Youth Banquet, he said, “I am committed to work with everyone who wants to work so that we can protect life from conception to natural death.”
“In Quebec, the French-speaking province, we have a lot of homework to do to step up the pace and work for the respect of life in our good province,” he added.
Lacroix was appointed as an auxiliary bishop to Ouellet in 2009, and served as diocesan administrator after Ouellet left for Rome in August 2010. He was named archbishop on February 22, 2011. He has served as a co-chairman of the Canadian bishops’ Committee on Life and Family.
In a December 2011 interview, the cardinal-designate urged the Church to bring the Gospel into the public square boldly and without compromise.
“We’ve been shy lately, laid back,” he said. “Society’s done a good job of pushing us back into our churches and sacristies, telling us you don’t have anything to bring to our society, that’s your thing, it’s personal.”
“We need to live our faith in the midst of world and bring the light of Christ to all sectors of society whether it be education, politics, health, you name it, we need to be there,” he said.
Born in St-Hilaire-de-Dorset, Québec, the cardinal-designate spent his youth in New Hampshire. He graduated from Laval University with a master’s degree in pastoral theology and was ordained in 1988. He spent eight years in missionary service in Colombia and upon returning to Canada became head of the Pius X Secular Institute. He later served on the Executive Council of the World Conference of Secular Institutes.