Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Get To Know Your Papabile: Marc Ouellet

Cardinal Marc Ouellet, S.S.P. (Canadian, 68). Former bishop of Quebec, current head of the Congregation of Bishops, which appoints the bishops for the world. Comes from a very small town in Quebec -- La Motte, population 450. (His name is pronounced 'wull-LETTE'.)

Considered a top advisor to Pope Benedict, helping with the VatiLeaks scandal and sexual abuse issues. Speaks many languages and has connections not only to the Western world but to the developing world, having taught in Colombia in the 1970s and 80s.  A real intellectual, and yet also viewed as deeply spiritual, with a rich prayer life. (Knowing that the resignation of Benedict was going to be a crazy time, Ouellet withdrew to go retreat for a week.)  Coming from the West, he has a very concrete sense of the effects of the sexual abuse crisis -- and yet he also has been criticized for not calling for greater accountability of the bishops who did cover ups.

Had a rocky go as archbishop in Quebec. Criticized by his priests for being out of touch with the people and an instrument of Rome. Said in 2010 that abortion is unjustified even in cases of rape. His brother was arrested for sleeping with two underage girls -- an event he has never commented publicly on. Has gotten pretty wrapped up in Benedict's struggle against Western secularism, a platform which feels a little stale to some at this point.  Described gay marriage as "pseudo-marriage, a fiction".

Wacky Facts: Apparently has a great singing voice and is a good hockey player, too. (In fact, it was while recovering from a broken leg caused during a hockey game that Ouellet started to think about becoming a priest.  Ignatius would be very pleased...)

Quotes from Cardinal Ouellet
"Today, especially in the context of our secularized societies, we need bishops who are the first evangelizers, and not mere administrators of dioceses. Who are capable of proclaiming the Gospel. Who are not only theologically faithful to the magisterium and the pope, but are also capable of expounding and, if need be, of defending the faith publicly."

“After the council, the sense of mission was replaced by the idea of dialogue. That we should dialogue with other faiths and not attempt to bring them the Gospels, to convert. Since then, relativism has been developing more broadly.”

Regarding the challenges faced by the Church in the Americas: approach them "With the audacity of children of God who rely on his grace."
What We Might See as Pope: A more emotional Benedict XVI. Stupid people calling him Pope Omelet.

Don't Be Surprised if He Chooses the Name: Pope Benedict XVII -- lots of continuity with Benedict.

In the Movie He'd be Played by: Steve Martin

C'mon. Not that Steve Martin. 

Not that one either.

Ok, enough already.

That's Steve Martini.



WOULD YOU #!%*@ STOP IT WITH THIS #*(@%! +*&^@!





Thank you. Yes. This Steve Martin. 

If He Isn't Elected, He Could: Skate for the Columbus Blue Jackets. (Or play the banjo on David Letterman.)

Why The Cardinals Might Want Him: Has Vatican experience, could help clean up of Curia. Lots of continuity with Benedict. Has appointed many many bishops.

Why They Might Not: He's from North America. He's too similar to Benedict in the wrong ways, an intellectual in a job that right now needs a manager. Shy.  Also, he said becoming Pope would "be a nightmare."


Carol said...

Yeah, but if he took his hockey skills to the Seat of Peter, if he high-sticked the Curia (which might not be a bad idea,) would they put him in a penalty box?

I'd actually like to see a North American pope. The recent canonization of a couple of North American saints really added to pride in Catholic identity in our parish.

I know I'm hoping on a long shot here, but c'mon: North Americans of European origin have been around as long as the Protestant Reformation has. And those of us who are First Peoples have been around even longer than that (why it took sixteen hundred years for the Church to get around to evangelizing us always bugged me in Catholic school on the rez, and I'm afraid one of the Sisters hadn't gotten over that thing between the Jesuits and the Mohawks.) Anyways, American Catholicism has been around for a little while on the Vatican timetable. And there are plenty of American and Canadian Catholics who shed their blood in foreign lands in the cause of liberty, including the liberty of those people to practice their faith in peace. Maybe they weren't exactly "defenders of the faith," but they made a disproportionately high sacrifice from which the Church, and others, benefitted tremendously.

Surely we've paid our dues!

Jim McDermott, S.J. said...

I don't know, Carol. Conventional wisdom is that they'll never choose someone from a world super power. But you never know. I will be posting about Dolan. And he's definitely got the charisma for the job.