Wednesday June 30, 2010

The Implications of Cardinal Ouellet’s Rome Appointment For Canada

Analysis by John-Henry Westen

June 30, 2010 ( – One of Canada’s few outspokenly pro-life bishops is leaving his position as archbishop of the prominent diocese of Quebec to a new high-level post overseas in the Vatican. However, in his new job as the head of the Vatican dicastry which has a major say in appointing bishops and cardinals, Cardinal Marc Ouellet may have an even greater influence on the Church in Canada and especially his beloved Quebec. That is because nearly half of the bishops in the province are due to retire in the next two years, and more after that while Ouellet will be in his new position.

While the Cardinal made it clear at this afternoon’s press conference that he believes his legacy in Canada will be the 2008 Eucharistic Congress, his outspoken defence of life and family, a contrast to his confreres in Quebec, marked him more, at least for the immediate future. At the press conference, which officially announced the move that has been rumored for the past few weeks in Rome, the Cardinal was most asked by reporters about his stance on abortion.

For Cardinal Ouellet, however, his robust defense of the right to life is nothing more than being a good bishop. Asked by LifeSiteNews if he would be able to continue to be an outspoken defender of life in his new role, Cardinal Ouellet replied, “I will continue to be a Catholic bishop, obviously, and with the conviction that the bishops are in favor of life.” In that context, he added that, with the help of the Holy Spirit, “I will help the bishops to be good bishops.”

The Cardinal has never been shy about speaking up for the unborn, even in the hard cases of rape and incest. He consequently endured frequent and sometimes vicious criticism for his outspoken defense of the right to life from politicians, media, and even other clergy. Rather than feeling down about the attacks he was encouraged and in fact took the opportunity and accompanying media attention, to ‘launch’ the abortion debate in Canada.

Rain or shine, Cardinal Ouellet participated in the National March for Life the past two years. In a June, 2008 LifeSiteNews interview he had high praise for the much maligned 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae and remarked that abortion is the consequence of the “culture of contraception.”

Ouellet was equally outspoken in defending the Church’s teaching on sexuality against the advance of homosexual ‘marriage’. Despite the disagreement of some Quebec bishops he also vigorously opposed the Quebec government’s attempt to force all schools to impose a relativistic course on religions.

Concerning disagreements with other bishops, Cardinal Ouellet openly criticized some of his brother bishops around the world last year over their failure to back Pope Benedict when the Pope was being blasted for his refusal to condone the use of condoms to fight AIDS.

In his seventh year as a Cardinal and at age 66, Cardinal Ouellet still has at least 9 more years to be in a prominent role of service to the Church (official retirement age is 75). His appointment as Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops comes at an especially opportune time given that nine of the 19 Latin Rite bishops in his home province of Quebec are set to retire in the next two years. And within that number are four of the five most powerful posts or ‘metropolitan sees’ as they are known.

Quebec’s bishops, with the current exception of Cardinal Ouellet and perhaps one or two others, are known to be the principal force behind the spread of damaging liberalism throughout the Church in Canada – a situation many hope will change with the appointment of Cardinal Ouellet to head the Pope’s ‘bishop selection committee.’

In what is known as the ‘quiet revolution,’ the Church in Quebec went from one of the most faithful and vibrant Catholic regions in the world to one of most militantly secular. Once the destructive revolution is reversed, all of Canada is likely to benefit. That 1960s revolution has infected much of the rest of the nation with its moral and spiritual corruption. Passionate and creative Quebecois, however, once again given solid and inspiring religious leadership, might begin a reverse influence for the betterment of the entire nation

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