Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
July 5, 2010
Ouellet tagged for top Vatican post
Cardinal enjoys a long relationship with Pope Benedict
WCR NEWS SERVICES
VATICAN CITY - A former rector of St. Joseph Seminary has been appointed to one of the most influential posts at the Vatican.
Cardinal Marc Ouellet of Quebec and primate of Canada for the past eight years was named prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for Bishops.
Pope Benedict made the appointment official June 30 at the Vatican. In the post, Ouellet, 66, will become the highest-ranking Canadian ever in the Vatican Curia.
He will oversee the appointment process for bishops all over the world, bringing the recommendations of the lengthy process to the pope who makes the final appointment of bishops.
Ouellet was rector of St. Joseph Seminary from 1994 to 1997 and has maintained his ties with the Edmonton Archdiocese, most recently speaking at a May 27 session of Nothing More Beautiful at St. Joseph's Basilica.
Edmonton Archbishop Richard Smith, vice-president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, welcomed the cardinal's appointment on behalf of the bishops.
"It's a clear sign of the huge confidence and trust Pope Benedict has in Cardinal Ouellet," Smith said. It's also "a tremendous privilege and blessing for Canada."
Smith said the pope has had a long relationship with Ouellet going back to Ouellet's days as a leading expert on the theology of Hans Urs von Balthasar. "They've known each other for a long time."
At the Congregation for Bishops, Ouellet will succeed 76-year-old Italian Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re.
Before coming to Edmonton, Ouellet was rector of the Grande Seminaire de Montreal from 1990 to 1994 and of the major seminary of Manizales in Colombia from 1984 to 1988. He also served as professor and director of the major seminary of Cali, Colombia for five years.
Ouellet is not a stranger to Rome or to the Roman Curia. He studied in Rome and left Edmonton to accept an appointment as chair of dogmatic theology at the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family.
In 2001, he was named a bishop and appointed secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and also served on the Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews.
In 2002, Pope John Paul II named him archbishop of Quebec, and in 2003 he made him a cardinal. He serves on several Vatican congregations and councils.
He has been a member of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, which he will now serve as president. At the 2008 Synod on the Bible, Ouellet served in the role of recording secretary, giving important talks summarizing presentations by the bishops.
Earlier that year, he and his Quebec Archdiocese hosted the International Eucharistic Congress.
On June 10, Ouellet spoke at a liturgy closing the Year for Priests in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. He said the Church and the priesthood face "an unprecedented wave of challenges" because of the global sexual abuse scandal.
As archbishop of Quebec, he was often outspoken on issues such as abortion and the secularization of society.
In a speech to the 2008 Catholic Media Convention in Toronto, Ouellet said Catholics "need some more militance" to reaffirm "the values of our Catholic tradition in Quebec."
After 40 years of secularization in Quebec "the moment has come" for a new way of looking at the Church's historical role in society, he said.
Ouellet speaks French, English, Italian, German and Spanish.
Copyright © 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 -- Western Catholic Reporter
Our mission: To serve our readers by bringing the Gospel to bear on current issues in the Church and in secular culture through accurate news coverage and reflective commentary.