Cardinal Ouellet Appointed Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops

Source: FSSPX News

On June 30th, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Archbishop of Quebec and Primate of Canada, was appointed by Benedict XVI as Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, one of the nine congregations of the Roman Curia.  He succeeds Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, 76 years of age and head of this dicastery since September 2000.  Cardinal Ouellet has also been appointed President of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.

Benedict XVI has accepted the resignation, for reasons of age, of the Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, an Italian prelate close to John Paul II (1978-2005).  According to the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus dated June 28, 1988, and signed by John Paul II, the Congregation for Bishops assists the pope in the creation, division, unification, and suppression of particular Churches (dioceses, vicariates, prelatures, military ordinariates, etc.) and in all matters concerning the nomination of bishops and the exercise of their pastoral office.  The Congregation coordinates the quinquennial ad limina visits of bishops to the pope and to his collaborators, and it analyzes the reports that they must furnish every five years.

The Congregation is charged with the organization of particular councils, with the formation of Episcopal conferences, and with the revision of their statutes.  It accomplishes this task throughout the world, except in the territories that are dependent on the Congregation for the Oriental Churches and the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

Born on June 8, 1944, in La Motte (Canada), Marc Ouellet earned the S.T.L. in 1968 at the University of Montreal (Canada) and was ordained a priest on May 25, 1968, for the diocese of Amos in his home parish.  From 1970 to 1971, he taught philosophy at the Major Seminary of Bogota (Colombia), run by the Canadian province of the Society of Priests of Saint-Sulpice, which he joined in 1972.  Monsignor Ouellet then continued his studies at Rome, where he earned a licentiate in philosophy at the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas in 1974.  He was sent to the major seminary of Manizales (Colombia), then to the major seminary of Montreal, where he worked until 1978.  He then resumed his studies and earned a doctorate in dogmatic theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in 1983.  In 1984 he was named rector of the major seminary in Manizales.  He became rector of the Major Seminary of Montreal in 1990, and of Saint Joseph’s Seminary of Edmonton (Canada) in 1994.

From 1996 to 2002, he held the chair in dogmatic theology at the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family of the Pontifical Lateran University at Rome.  Appointed Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity in March 2001, he was consecrated a bishop by John Paul II on March 19 of the same year.  Named Metropolitan Archbishop of Québec in November 2002, he was created a cardinal by John Paul II in October 2003.  Cardinal Ouellet is presently a member of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, of the Congregation for Catholic Education, and of the Congregation for the Clergy.  He is also a member of the editorial committee of the quarterly theological review Communio, founded by Joseph Ratzinger and Hans Urs von Balthasar (1905-1988).

Recently Cardinal Ouellet stated his firm opposition to abortion.  As part of the “International Day of the Family”, held on May 15 in Quebec, he declared that abortion is a crime.  Concerning the theoretical case of a woman made pregnant through rape, he explained that “a woman who has been raped is experiencing a tragedy and that she ought to be helped.  But she should be helped in regard to the child in her womb. (…) There is already one victim, must there be another?”  In the Quebec daily newspaper Le Soleil, of May 16, the Canadian prelate declared that he had “the honor or the misfortune of defending the dignity of the human person unconditionally and without compromise.  In the current debate over euthanasia, that makes me the equivalent of a fundamentalist or an ayatollah.  Some cannot tolerate the idea that human dignity is not in the least diminished when a person is not yet born, is ill, handicapped, or dying.  I affirm that the dignity of the human person continues fully and entirely from his first moment until the very end of his existence.  This dignity is inviolable because we are talking, quite simply, about a human person.”  On May 2, the Archbishop of Quebec made the same remarks to members of the Canadian Federation of Associations of Catholic Physicians (FCSMC) meeting at Montréal.  (Sources:  apic/imedia/zenit/afp/kna – DICI no. 218 dated July 10, 2010)