Reading Quebec Cardinal’s Apology to Homosexuals and Women in Context

Editorial by John-Henry Westen

QUEBEC CITY, November 21, 2007 ( - An Open Letter to Quebec Catholics by Cardinal Marc Ouellet published today in Quebec newspapers and on the website of the Archdiocese of Quebec has caused a media uproar in the French-speaking province.  Cardinal Ouellet, both the Archbishop of Quebec and the Primate of Canada, apologized for historical attitudes of some Catholics which promoted "discrimination against women and homosexuals."

He noted also that those "narrow attitudes of some Catholics, before 1960, have promoted Anti-Semitism, racism," and "indifference to the First Nations."

The open letter comes in response to an outpouring of public reaction to the Archbishop’s recent statement detailing various problems in the province of Quebec (see coverage:

Whereas feminists would have the public believe that suppression of women is seen in the Catholic Church’s refusal to condone a "woman’s right to choose" abortion, the Cardinal instead apologized for some clerics who hampered women’s right to vote, to gain employment and for especially being inconsiderate of mothers and their family responsibilities.

Cardinal Ouellet, like the Polish Pope, condemned abortion as an "abomination" but sees the right to life of the unborn child as a pro-woman stance. 

Were the Cardinal to make apologies for the Church’s discrimination against women and homosexuals for the period after 1960, he may well apologize for Catholic leaders not being strong enough in their opposition to homosexuality and abortion since these two evils harm women and persons with same-sex attraction disorder more than words can ever tell.

Indeed in John Paul II’s 2000 "Universal Prayer" of "Confession Of Sins And Asking For Forgiveness", the Pope included asking forgiveness for Christians who failed to defend the unborn against abortion.

The late Pope prayed: "God, our Father, you always hear the cry of the poor. How many times have Christians themselves not recognized you in the hungry, the thirsty and the naked, in the persecuted, the imprisoned, and in those incapable of defending themselves, especially in the first stages of life. For all those who have committed acts of injustice by trusting in wealth and power and showing contempt for the "little ones" who are so dear to you, we ask your forgiveness: have mercy on us and accept our repentance. We ask this through Christ our Lord."

See the Cardinal’s full open letter (in French) here:

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