Will Card. Ouellet be going to Cong. for Bishops?

While we don’t yet have an official notice, it may be that the next Prefect for the Congregation for Bishop will be His Eminence Marc Card. Ouellet, 66 year old Archbishop of Quebec, rather than Card. Pell of Australia.

Andrea Tornielli has news.

As I have mentioned on this blog, I got to know Card. Ouellet a bit in Rome and found him to be an upstanding fellow.  I actually mentioned him some years ago as papabile one day.  This move would make him even more so.

I mentioned Card. Ouellet for this, here.

Note that, in addition to French, he speaks English perfectly as well as Italian and Spanish and he has the strong use of German because he worked on von Balthasar, if memory serves.  For years he has been involved with Communio, the theological journal aligned with the Ratzinger school (rather than Concilium aligned with the Rahner crowd). He taught in a seminary in Colombia with the Sulpicians, he taught in Rome at the John Paul II Institute, worked on the Curia, and went on to be Archbishop Primate in Quebec. 

He is an ecclesiastical rocket man.

I have heard him preach several times and, even in Italian, he was impressive.

My theory is that the Prefect of Bishops has to be able to speak English because the Holy Father is focused on reshaping Anglophone bishops conferences. More on that here.

Tornielli says the announcement will be made next week.

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  1. TJerome says:

    Father Z, Cardinal Quellet sounds like an outstanding candidate. I suspect he may be a bit more diplomatic than some of the other candidates.

  2. Jacob says:

    I am interested in firsthand accounts of his pastoralism and administrative abilities from back home in Canada. I know he has been outspoken in defending the pro-life position. How about some of the other positions normally covered here by Father Z?

  3. Jacob, he gave/sold a church for a nominal sum of $1 to the FSSP earlier this year.

  4. TJerome says:

    To the FSSP? Then he’s got be a great Archbishop!

  5. Joseph says:

    when one looks at Quebec and the smoking ruins there, I am hardly enthused about Holy Father’s decision. In my lowly opinion we would have needed a broom with steel bristles, not a lens duster. [And don’t forget the Harry Potter magic wand that will clean the decades of problems before Card. Ouellet arrived!]

  6. TrueLiturgy says:

    I think I’d prefer Cardinal Pell, but Cardinal Ouellet is an excellent 2nd choice.

  7. DBuote says:

    Considering the state of the Church n Quebec, you can`t really put Cardinal Oulette at fault for anything… He inherited a mess, and its going to be that way for awhile. However, the FSSP is now there, and he has taken remarkable strides with youth conferences etc. So he is planning for the future. I think, he`d be a great choice… Although I would not want to have to pick between he and Card. Pell

  8. Fr_Sotelo says:

    His Eminence trained priests as part of the Society of St. Sulpice. The old Sulpician spirituality, as seen from the writings of Fr. Jean-Jacques Olier and the work of Adolphe Tanquerey, SS, is beautifully Marian. They trained St. Louis de Montfort at St. Sulpice in Paris. Hopefully, the Cardinal still has that old Sulpician spirituality in his heart.

  9. To be frank, I wouldn’t want this pick to happen, only because I really believe that Canada really needs him, and especially Quebec! To lose him to Rome would be a huge loss for the Canadian Church.

    He used to be Rector of my current seminary as well and worked hard to reform it and it is because of him that my seminary is as good as it is today.

    I have had the pleasure of meeting him a couple of times, and the holiness, approachability, and pastoral zeal of this man is bar none. His work with the Eucharistic Congress in Quebec City is also a huge step forward for the Church in Quebec. Yet, seeing him at the Congress, and seeing his ability to draw people closer to Christ, one wonders if perhaps the Holy Spirit has a different plan for him, for he truly is a papabile. He will be an extraordinary choice as the new head, but it would be a sad loss for the Church in Quebec and in Canada.

    One small anecdote. At the Congress, he held an evening for seminarians. There were a LOT of seminarians at it, and he came to speak to us. He was deeply moved by the number of men who showed up for the talk (no one had expected as many seminarians to come as did!) and it was beautiful to see a man who loved the priesthood so deeply.

  10. johapin says:

    ColUmbia… or COLOMBIA?

  11. Patrick J. says:

    Has it not become a tactic in recent Supreme Court nominee scenarios, vis-a-vis Senate confirmation hearings, to advance one candidate, perhaps ultra polarizing and not quite able to win confirmation in order to then put forth the real candidate, after the other side has fired off its best salvos and everyone is quite bored with the ‘ad nauseum’ objections and stonewalling/fillibustering, etc? Would this situation be quite parallel? Perhaps.

  12. doanli says:

    If he’s got your seal of approval, Father, he’s okay with me. :)

  13. Thomas S says:

    Patrick J.,

    I’d say that’s a weak analogy. For starters, the Holy Father doesn’t strike me as a man prone to political games. Secondly, there’s obviously no confirmation to win. The man who “nominates” in this case is the same man who “confirms.” If the Holy Father wants Pell, he’ll have him. If he wants Ouellet, he’ll have him.

  14. Jack Hughes says:

    whilst the office is being filled I’ve thought of something that everyone here can do, there is a wonderful site called Pray a Rosary for the Bishop (http://rosaryforthebishop.org/) howabout everyone here picks seven Bishops who really get on their nerves (for whatever reason) and sign up to pray 5 decades of the Rosary for one Bishop each day? (you can get the site to send you a reminder at a time of your choosing), hopefully the sheer force of so many Rosaries may result in some reform of said Bishops before they retire.

  15. ljc says:

    Wouldn’t it be a great move by the Holy Father if, this time next year, while the liberals are still celebrating having stopped Pell from the Congregation for Bishops, the Pope names him Prefect of the CDF…

  16. Traductora says:

    Looking at the hideous state of the Canadian Church, particularly in the francophone areas, I wasn’t encouraged by this. But I read more about him and it seems that he has been trying to improve things. And if he’s a von Balthasar scholar, that’s pretty encouraging.

  17. oratefratres says:

    Although I too would be sad to see him leave the Canadian Church, at present I think this was a good choice. Although arguments exists against him, I believe however that he would be more effective as a Prefect especially with regards to the situation of the Canadian Church. Canada is one of the worst Churches in the world for its descent especially with regards to the hierarchy. Recall the Winnipeg Statement (descent on Humanae Vitae) which still has not been reverse by the Canadian Hierarchy unto this day. Canada needs a cleanup starting from its head (the bishops). Pope Benedict already has improved the situation with new appointments in Canada, and this indeed brings rocket fuel to reform the Church here in Canada. I believe Oulette could do more for the Canadian Church and his current Archdiocese as a prefect as well as provide strong potential candidates for appointments of new bishops for the Universal Church. Remember that the U.S. as of late have received newly appointed bishops who are leaning towards orthodoxy, and this under the current Prefect. Pope Benedict can do wonders with anybody as his prefect. Our Holy Father is very very clever. He knows things we do not and can maneuver things brilliantly. For Canada this is indeed good news, for the Vatican now I believe has a much more clearer knowledge of the Canadian Hierarchy and what is going on here (Canada) with the input Cardinal Ouelett would bring. I hope to see new appointments in Canada much like what the U.S. received these past few years.

  18. TNCath says:

    Canada’s loss is the Universal Church’s gain. I think Cardinal Ouellet might have more practical experience in helping appoint bishops to the U.S. than Cardinal Pell and together with Archbishop (soon to be Cardinal) Burke on the congregation as well, will exercise more influence in time as other longtime members such as Cardinals Law and Rigali retire within the next five years.

  19. Patrick J. says:


    Understood. There is not voting per se along these lines for appointments.

    The analogy was pointing more toward the winning of minds and hearts and reducing the obstinate resistance, especially by bishops,to any such appointment by having the first candidate – and this might be more a function of plain circumstances or accident rather than design – take most of the “heat.” People eventually weary of the same whiney leftist carping, and they probably do themselves, and through this process, the secondary (real) candidate is less hotly resisted. War of attrition, so to speak.

  20. Andrew says:

    I had the pleasure of meeting Cardinal Ouellet in Rome in October 2005, during the Synod of the Eucharist where I interviewed him for Inside the Vatican.

    At that time, I was new to the game of meeting ecclesiastics, so it was quite providential how it turned out.

    One afternoon I was walking near the tunnel that connects St Peter’s Square to the western side (near the colonnades) and I went past a man who obviously was dressed as a cardinal. I introduced myself to him, and he told me he was Cardinal Ouelett from Quebec City. I had heard about him before, and knew he was an important personage at the Synod, so I asked him if sometime he might be available for an interview. Just like that he said yes, and told me he was staying at the International House of Priests on Via Transportina.

    Well when I was halfway through the interview, I realized that my primitive pocket tape recorder, wasn’t recording. (Now I have a good dictaphone). Darn it! Well I got the machine going, and still managed to ask him some questions that were recorded. How could I ask him to repeat what he had already told me? No, I am NOT a good note taker.

    I thought His Eminence came across as a most friendly, kind man and was somebody of deep faith.

    He would be an ideal choice to head the Congregation of Bishops. Here is that interview if you would like to read it. Oh, you can see then I spelt his surname incorrectly.


    Cardinal Pell is from my country, but selfishly I don’t want him to leave here. But then I guess my Canadian brothers and sisters feel the same away about Cardinal Oulett. I pray the best man gets the job.

  21. stgemma_0411 says:

    Sadly, the issues with Canada are with its people and not its Bishops, for the most part. Card. Ouellet as well as Abp. Pendergast are two of the more faithful and boisterous Bishops in Canada, let alone all of North America or the world. They make headlines for all the right reasons. As much as I would wish that Canada could keep these types of Bishops, I fully understand the need to have these exceptional men in positions where they can do the most good, but if you want to help countries whose Catholic base is, how shall we say, “less than stellar”, than I would ask that he be removed from the list. I know in the my area I have only had the pleasure of listening to one priest, one former bishop, and one bishop emeritus who actually sounded like they knew what they were doing. The rest have been a combination of Robert Frost poems (and not even the ones that make sense) and old fishing stories. The diocese that I grew up in I could say that 90+% of the priests actually sounded like they cared. Of course, I could go on and on about the lack of daily masses up here, or the lack of confessions, or any number of other liturgical abuses or amazingly lazy habits that do nothing other than foster a lazy attitude towards one’s faith and winds up as a breeding ground for relativistic and homogeneous tendencies in relation to other faiths and even politics. I pray constantly for these men that God has called, but the people don’t ask for more and so they don’t give more. In a word, it is sad. Which is why I don’t want to lose Card. Ouellet, who has been a strong voice that has given a glimmer of hope that perhaps someone can lead this country out of the malaise it is in.

  22. Supertradmum says:

    Let us pray for Canada, as well as the US. I would hate to see Cardinal Ouellet leave his people, who need him so much, but as he is a Ratzinger-man, I think Rome needs him as well.

    The von Balthasar reference does not inspire me with confidence. I studied von Balthasar when working on a PhD and finally realized his limitations after several years and returned to St. Thomas Aquinas. I know von Balthasar is popular with those who came out of the German colleges, and I know John Paul II was a Phenomenologist, but even St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross left that school of philosophy and turned back to Thomism. However, I shall yield that v.B. is better than Rahner.

    God bless Cardinal Ouellet and Cardinal Pell.

  23. james says:

    “Sadly, the issues with Canada are with its people and not its Bishops, for the most part.”

    As a Canadian, I’d have to disagree. It’s the people AND the bishops/archbishops.
    Whilst Card. Ouellet and Abp. Pendergast stand out, others (most) do not.
    As for the reference to von Balthasar, not what I wanted to hear either.

    Ecumenism is huge here – but not towards the Traditional Latin Mass. It does not
    extend towards the Traditional Latin Mass, in most places…

    Canada is a mess. Many here want married priests, women priests, and so on. Priests and Bishops included. Many priests dress in lay clothes. I have seen one celebrate Mass in jeans. Again, a mess.

    Catholic Identity is gone. Caput. Altar servers in shorts, sneakers, and so on… The only country that banned the Latin Mass (Calgary) due to the H1N1 farce. This is “Catholic” Canada. Today. And I see no moves away from this modernist/liberal/relativistic course. Just look at the response to LifeSite News
    from the Deevlopment and Peace crowd. That is “Catholic” Canada.

    I see adverts promoting Sister Joan Chittister, Fr. Michael Crosby, protestant/ecumenical
    rock concerts, and so forth, in our parish. One read of the Prairie Messenger out
    of Meunster, SK (Fr. McBrien is a regular contributor) is also evidence of where
    Canada is… and where it appears to be going… unless appointments turn the tide,
    and quickly. We need your prayers, in the Great White North. We are so far away

    I do hope this appointment helps Canada move away from this borderline liberation-
    theology ecumenism, towards a more Traditional path, which will also produce more
    vocations… Please pray for Cardinal Ouellet, who did support the FSSP by selling
    them a beautiful old church for $1. I doubt many (most?) bishops here would have
    doen the same. In fact, I’ll bet most would have denied the FSSP their own parish,
    even if a church was available.

    I feel both comfrotable, as well as frustrated, in saying I would probably win that bet. God Bless you, Cardinal Ouellet. All the best.

  24. jlmorrell says:

    I have one question: Is Cardinal Ouellet an enthusiastic supporter of Summorum Pontificum?

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