By John-Henry Westen

Cardinal Marc Oullet MONTREAL, November 6, 2007 ( – Quebec City Cardinal Marc Ouellet has spoken out against a Quebec initiative which would impose a relativistic religion course on all Quebec students whether in public school, private school or even receiving home education. The Cardinal made his remarks before a commission which is seeking public reaction to the program on “Ethics and Religious Culture” which includes positive presentation of homosexual families and requires children to question their own religious upbringing. (see coverage: )

The Cardinal’s presentation before the Bouchard-Taylor commission is being seen as a watershed defense of the place of the Catholic faith in Quebec society and indeed in Canada as a whole.

Cardinal Ouellet said that the mandated course “subjects religions to the control and the interests of the State and puts an end to religious freedoms in school which were acquired many generations ago.”

With a firmness and fire rarely seen from the Canadian Catholic hierarchy, the Cardinal said, “No European nation has ever adopted such a radical position which disrupts the religious convictions and takes away religious freedoms. There is an uneasiness felt by many families as well as a sense of helplessness in front of the almighty State.”

The Cardinal also used the opportunity to address the underlying problem of the clash between secular humanists and the Catholic culture in Quebec and the rest of Canada.

“The real problem in Quebec is the spiritual emptiness created by a rupture of religion and culture and a substantial loss of memory brought about by a crisis of the family and education,” he said. “It has caused dismay among young people, the fall of the marriages, the minimal birth rate, and the terrifying number of abortions and suicides to name only a few consequences that are also reflected in the precarious state of elderly people and in the public health system.”

“A spiritual renewal is possible,” he said, “if the dialog between the State, Society and the Church is resumed in a manner that is constructive and respectful of our collective identity which is now pluralistic.”

As an example of intolerance he cited the desire to remove the crucifix from the National Assembly (legislature). “To remove it would signify a cultural rupture, a denial of who we are and who we are called to be as a collective historically founded on Christian values.”

The full address is available (in French)
on video:

See related coverage:
‘Spiritual void’ a problem in Quebec Written by Deborah Gyapong, Canadian Catholic News

To contact the Cardinal:

His Eminence Marc OUELLET
Archbishop of Québec
Primate of Canada
2, rue Port Dauphin
C.P. 459, H.V.
Québec (QC) G1R 4R6

Tel: (418) 688-1211 #210
Fax:(418) 688-2960
Web Site: