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Note: This text contains criticisms of Cardinal Marc Ouellet. If this seems inappropriate, please see: "Should a Catholic Publicly Criticize Some Decisions Taken By His Superiors?".
Cardinal Marc Ouellet was the Archbishop of the Quebec Diocese, in Canada, for several years. During that period, I tried to scrutinize some of his most important decisions, generally through his official documents. (This text was first published August 2005; updated: June 2006, April 2007, May 2008, May 2010, August 2010, February 2013).
Before the arrival of Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the Quebec Diocese was sadly known for a whole series of abuses, like:
2.1) the near absence of vocations to the priesthood;
2.2) brazen insubordination to the Apostolic See by a large part of the diocesan ecclesiastical hierarchy;
2.3) Parishes infiltrated by Parish Priests opposed to the Pope;
2.4) abuses in the Sacraments, like collective absolution;
2.5) abuses in the Liturgy, like homilies preached by laypersons;
2.6) the dispersal and low morale of the rare elements still faithful to the Pope;
etc., etc... (see among others FAQ #7)
To begin with, I depend on the reliability of my information sources. I can't claim to be "well-connected". All I can say is I'm in contact with several Priests in the Quebec Diocese; I go to Mass (as far as possible every day); I read the papers; I've done a bit of volunteering in Parishes, I have several buddies who are "in the grapevine" of the Diocese; etc.
As far as I know, to the Cardinal's credit, it is true that the situation has not gotten worse. (That would have been difficult, since Cardinal Ouellet's predecessor, Monsignor Maurice Couture, was deliberately trying to destroy the Catholic Church from the inside.) Moreover, as we speak, Cardinal Ouellet is quite clearly the least bad Bishop in the Province of Quebec.
Moreover, recently (2009-May-14), the Cardinal gave a very encouraging sign with his speech for the National March for Life. (For which I congratulated him and warmly shook his hand, a few minutes later, in the streets of Ottawa; too bad there wasn't anybody to take a picture of that historic moment!) He again was at the National March the following year, where I screamed "Hello Mr. Cardinal!" and took a lousy picture:
He also made what I thought was a rather weak speech at the Pro-Life Conference organized by Mr. Georges Buscemi in Quebec City two days later:
But, at least it was a pro-life speech, and he was there! And the left-wing Media went crazy and attacked him furiously for several days. So that is another very big point in his favor!
That being said, improvements have been discouragingly few and far apart. I'll list a few negative facts:
3.1) Vocations. Shortly after arriving in Quebec City, Cardinal Ouellet nominated a new Seminary Superior who is well-known for his opposition to the Apostolic See. Of course, vocations are not on the rise! And after his first three-year term, the Cardinal renewed him for another three years!
I even contacted this new Superior myself, to get information about a vocational workshop for the priesthood that was coming up. The Superior sent me an e-mail to forbid me to come, and he even forbade me to post his e-mail on my web site! What due diligence and what transparency in this vocational discernment!
3.2) The insubordination of a large part of the clergy. At the last meeting between Cardinal Ouellet and his (approximately) 270 Priests, the meeting quickly degenerated into an attack against the teachings of the Church concerning collective absolution. Not a single Priest stood up to say he agreed with the Pope...
3.3) Infiltrated Parishes. Based on what I can see, Cardinal Ouellet's predecessor, Monsignor Maurice Couture, skillfully infiltrated most Parishes with Parish Priests who are more or less overtly at war with the Church. When there are several Priests, the one who is the least faithful to the Pope just happens to be the Parish Priest! (Note for non-Catholic readers: the "curé" or Parish Priest has authority over all the other Priests in his Parish). But instead of changing them, Cardinal Ouellet renews the terms of those Parish Priests! This is even more insulting when you know several good Priests could and want to become Parish Priests, in order to faithfully teach what the Catholic Church teaches. Cardinal Ouellet reportedly told them, and I quote: "There are no open positions at this time". And this while we are merging Parishes left and right!
3.4) Group absolution. The Cardinal had announced that he was ending the abuses concerning collective absolution. When the wolves controlling the Parishes howled, the Cardinal decided to wait another year. A year later, he published his courageous letter against collective absolution. Do you know how the wolves reacted? Now, they give individual absolution, but without confession of sins! The faithful walk up, a bit like for communion, and the Priests give them absolution just like that, without the confession of their sins! Such insubordination on the part of some Priests deserved serious ecclesiastical sanctions. Of course, no effective measures have been taken. (The prevalence of this abuse was confirmed to me again in Lent of 2006 by yet another Priest.)
3.5) Abuses in the Liturgy. Homilies made by laypersons have not stopped but rather increased, my informers tell me. (I saw one myself in May 2006 in the Saint-Martyrs-Canadiens Parish, and I'm not looking for them!) As for the other liturgical abuses, I myself was present at a Baptism at the Saint-Michel-de-Sillery church: the Catholic rite was barely recognizable! I even wonder whether the Baptism was valid. Anyway, many of the people present had never seen or heard of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (surprise, surprise...).
3.6) The destruction of valid marriages. It is well known in the Diocese that anybody who is validly married can get an "annulment", for just about any reason. In June 2006, I met a chap whose marriage was perfectly valid, but declared null against his will for silly "reasons" (do I need to add that he is faithful to the Magisterium, which greatly frustrates his wife?). Three Priests in the Diocese confirm this, including a Canonist.
3.7) The dispersal and low morale of the remaining good Priests. There are several Priests in the Diocese who love Jesus-Eucharist, the Church, the Pope, the Blessed Mother, etc. Except the Cardinal systematically avoids those Priests! Instead of gathering the lifeblood of the Diocese around him (see [Ex 32:26]), the Cardinal cuts himself off from them.
3.8) Abuses in the Sacraments. Many Priests agree that the Sacraments are often given when they shouldn't be (See The Sacrament of "Disevangelization"), except they give them anyway. They told me it's because if they tried to stand their ground, Cardinal Ouellet wouldn't support them, and instead order them to give the Sacrament, for reasons of "pastoral wayfaring" ("cheminement pastoral" in French).
3.9) Misrepresentation of the teachings of the Church. While private Catholic schools in Quebec were being forbidden by Bill 95 to teach Catholicism, Cardinal Ouellet published one of the lamest defenses of Catholic schools I've ever read: Religious Freedom In School. While "gay marriage" was being rammed down our throats, Cardinal Ouellet pretended to defend the teachings of the Church. Except the document he used to do so caused the website of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishop's to be flagged as "Caution" for fidelity to the Church's teachings by Catholic Culture! (See also Eric Alcock's article "Cardinal Ouellet Part of the Problem, Not Part of the Solution".)
3.10) Lack of solidarity with unjustly persecuted Bishops. On June 6, 2004, Bishop Frederick Henry of Calgary bravely stood up to the then Prime Minister Paul Martin, who was running around Canada claiming he was a good Catholic, while being stridently pro-choice and pro-sodomy. The largely atheist media pounced on Monsignor Henry, trying to tear his reputation to shreds. Canadian Federal Tax Officers threatened to remove the tax-exempt status of his Diocese if he didn't shut up. Monsignor Henry was even dragged before the "Human Rights" kangaroo court of Alberta. And which one of his brother Bishops jumped to the rescue, saying bravely: "If you attack Bishop Henry, attack me too, because we both agree on the eternal and divine teachings of the Catholic Church"? Was it Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Primate of Canada? No! No! No! Should we then be surprised that Cardinal Ouellet's own Priests are afraid of standing up to defend the teachings of the Catholic Church?
3.11) A less than vigorous defense of the teachings of the Church. See among others Holy, Holy, Holy, the Dialogue, Reasonable Accommodations And Religious Freedom In Quebec, The Debate Is On, etc.
3.12) Promotion of heresies by officials of the Diocese. A reliable informer tells me that about a year ago, Cardinal Ouellet was personally warned of heresies taught by some of his employees. A year later, the Cardinal promoted them to head the Standing Commission on Youth, where they teach that the CCC isn't a sure norm for the teaching of the Faith, that the teachings of the Church on sexuality are false, etc.
Moreover, some Parishes have ads in their church and in their weekly bulletin for the visit of Bishop Jacques Gaillot, Bishop in partibus of Parténia, and recognized for his declarations in favor of sodomy, abortion, etc. ("ÉCOUTE SECOURS, the Jésus-Ouvrier Fondation and the Faculty of Theology and Religious Sciences of Laval University are happy to propose two activities for professional development" with Bishop Jacques Gaillot, April 18, 19, 20, 2007.) How can a Faculty of Theology, where our seminarians are trained, encourage such things, without the implicit blessing of Cardinal Ouellet?
3.13) His deplorable successor, Monsignor Gérald-Cyprien Lacroix. After all these years in the diocese of Quebec, Cardinal Ouellet had to know his subordinates. Moreover, being prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, he had to have a say in the designation of his successor. Why did he sent us somebody who is Hell-bent on bringing the whole diocese back to the bad old days of Monsignor Couture?
3.14) Irritants. There is also a whole series of irritants, for example:
- Last time I checked, there was still an operational cash register inside the Cardinal's church! (not the basement, not in a corridor, inside the church!) Did the Cardinal speak out against this aberration? No, of course...
- Seminarians have to pay for their studies (and remember the program has been artificially lengthened to almost 9 years!). Who can afford to become a Priest in Quebec City? And studying to become a Priest in Rome (one of the most expensive cities in the world) is less expensive, room and board included! Did the Cardinal speak out against this aberration? No, of course...
- The most holy chapel in Canada, the chapel for the Blessed Monsignor de Laval, was donated to the Musée de la Civilisation, owned by the atheistic Government of Quebec. They promptly transformed it into a party hall (but with all the decorations and furnishings of a chapel!). It is now their cash cow! (I heard it from the mouth of the Director.) Beer bashes in a Catholic chapel! (I heard it from the mouthes of partygoers.) Did the Cardinal speak out against this aberration? No, of course...
- The "Quebec City Little Seminary". A "Petit Séminaire" is a school for future Priests, controlled by the Diocese. There is a school called "Quebec City Little Seminary", but it has nothing to do with the Catholic Church! It was donated many years ago to a group of laypersons. Nobody bothered to tell parents that it was now a "Petit Séminaire" in name only! And the Cardinal has started up another "Quebec City Little Seminary", except it can't be called like that (its called the "Diocesan Little Seminary"), and it can't officially teach Catholicism because of the Quebec Government anti-Christian laws! (Following the changes in the Canadian Constitution, approved by the Quebec Bishops!) Did the Cardinal speak out against this aberration? No, of course...
Despite the fact my web site openly attacks fans of Atheism, abortion and sodomy, the fact remains that, statistically speaking, some of the most sharply worded e-mails and phone calls I've gotten from perfect strangers came from "Pro-Ouellet" people.
Many of these "pro-Ouelleters" seem to have in common that they:
- say many Rosaries every day;
- are not connected to the Internet, and hate computers;
- can't speak or read English;
- don't have a College degree;
- are usually women over 50 who appear to think the Cardinal is physically really attractive.
When such people hear about this text, they go into a panic. A few have contacted me, and the conversation often goes a bit like this:
[Pro-Ouelleter] You attack the Cardinal, and yet (here, add long list of positive trifles like "the Cardinal is presiding the Eucharistic Congress of 2008", or "the Cardinal is the cherished child of Benedict XVI", or "when the Cardinal smiles, I feel like I'm seeing John Paul II all over again", etc.).
[Mean Old Inquisitor] Yes, Madam, all those things are very positive, and I'm not disputing that. But did you take the time to read the list of negative facts listed in my text?
[Pro-Ouelleter] I don't have a computer, and I'm not interested in reading your texts. I'm too busy doing Eucharistic Adoration!
Here are a few other typical arguments by pro-Ouelleters:
4.1) "It's un-Christian to criticize a Bishop the way you do!". Then how come people like you never complain about what I say about Monsignor Maurice Couture on my web site? I practically accuse Monsignor Couture of being the Son of the Devil, yet I never hear "Pro-Ouelleters" complain about that! Is it because you agree with my assessment of Mons. Couture, and you think he should be publicly condemned, even though he's a Bishop? If so, what part of paragraph #3 here above is not factual? And if all those accusations are true, shouldn't the Bishop responsible for those actions be publicly warned about the harm he is causing?
4.2) "Cardinal Ouellet doesn't know!". Maybe 2 weeks after having arrived here, that argument might have made sense, but over 3 years? Remember Ouellet was parachuted into the Diocese by John Paul II, who rejected all the other candidates suggested by Monsignor Couture, against all normal procedures. That in itself means Ouellet was sent here to clean up a mess (If the status quo was acceptable, why refuse Monsignor Couture's underlings?). Also, I can detect someone who is not faithful to the Magisterium in about 5.8 seconds. And most members of the Opus Dei can do better. Is the Cardinal so feeble-minded that he doesn't have a clue who is, and who isn't on his side?
4.3) "Cardinal Ouellet knows, but he can't do anything about it!". Please, stop kidding yourself. A watchdog might not be strong enough to stop many armed burglars, but he is supposed to bark, at the very least. See #6.1 below.
4.4) "Cardinal Ouellet knows, but the Pope is telling him to let the wolves kill the lambs inside the sheepfold!". Thanks for sharing that with me, Madam. I have to go now, have a nice day, and God bless you. If some day you get connected to the Internet, you might read Purification, Or Strangulation?
I dearly hope I'm totally wrong. Unfortunately, I'm under the impression that, once again, a "John Paul II" Bishop is going to be bamboozled by a dissident Diocese.
Pope John Paul II, whom I love and who did a lot of good, had the unfortunate habit of naming Bishops who were well-known for their "very diplomatic" approach (I would say "effeminate"). Those Bishops, despite the fact they were faithful to the Pope, almost always ended up "adapting" themselves to their new Diocese, to the point where no real improvement was implemented.
Mr. James Hitchcock, in 1995 (ten years already!) wrote an article of an almost scary lucidity, to try to explain this phenomenon: "Conservative Bishops, Liberal Results". The gist of that article is that the Catholic Faith can be exterminated in a country, even if all Bishops are faithful to the Pope! All you need are "John Paul II Bishops", who are willing and able to renew the Faith in their Diocese, under the condition that the wolves won't howl. Every time those Bishops dare attempt to loosen the death-grip that the wolves have on the throats of the sheep, the wolves howl, so the Bishops back off. Eventually, all the sheep die, and those Bishops can brag they "remained faithful to the Pope" all along!
It appears to me that Cardinal Ouellet risks becoming yet another statistic if he ignores the lessons of History and behaves like the Bishops described by Mr. Hitchcock.
I want to reiterate that I dearly want to be wrong. If I'm not wrong, then I pray that Cardinal Ouellet will confound me, by acting in a manly way to renew the Catholic Faith in the Quebec Diocese. That wouldn't be very complicated. A few measures would suffice, mostly revolving around truth, instead of effeminate diplomacy. Jesus is Truth itself, and a true Bishop must first of all tell the truth:
6.1) Be honest with the faithful. The faithful of the Diocese have a right to know just how bad the situation really is.
6.2) Make sure we have at least one Parish. Just by snapping his fingers, the Cardinal could give us one Parish totally faithful to the teachings of the Church.
6.3) Close the Faculty of Theology and the Seminary. Send the seminarians to Montreal temporarily. Gather a team of orthodox Priests, and a few years from now, re-open the Seminary. Don't let anybody in, except teachers and seminarians who respect all the criteria that the Church imposes.
6.4) Renew catechesis. The vast majority of people who imagine they are Catholics don't even know what the Church teaches.
6.5) Throw Novalis out of our churches. See Section 2 of Let's Commit Sacrileges In Church!
Brace ourselves for the inevitable ruthless attacks of bad Priests,
the Media, and Satan. That is the easiest part of the plan! All the
Cardinal has to do is to outsource it! Indeed, my web site specializes
itself in the
effective treatment of such attacks.
I sometimes have the impression that if the Pope had just nominated one of the candidates proposed by Monsignor Couture, instead of sending us Cardinal Ouellet, the decisions in the Diocese wouldn't have been much different. This is a harsh assessment, even more so coming from one of the many faithful who had been praying for years for the Pope to send us a real Bishop, and who was swept away by a wave of hope when we were told that Cardinal Marc Ouellet was coming.
I guess I need to increase prayer, fasting, alms-giving and mortification...
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