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Cardinal Ouellet to head Congregation for Bishops

Catholic World News - June 30, 2010

Pope Benedict has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, 76, as prefect of the Congregation for Bishops and has named Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Archbishop of Quebec, as his successor. Cardinal Ouellet will also succeed Cardinal Re as the president of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.

The appointment of Cardinal Ouellet ends months of speculation about the future leadership of the Congregation for Bishops. The position is a highly influential one, as the Congregation for Bishops supervises the selection of most of the world's diocesan bishops.

Earlier this year, inside Vatican sources said that Cardinal George Pell of Sydney, Australia would be the Pope's choice to replacing the retiring Cardinal Re. That choice reportedly met resistance from some other Vatican officials, while Cardinal Pell himself was reluctant to leave his current post in Australia.

Cardinal Ouellet is a longtime ally of Pope Benedict’s, who served with the future Pontiff on the editorial board of the international theological journal Communio. (The Canadian prelate still sits on that board.) A noted theologian who once taught at the Pontifical Lateran University, he is also a former secretary of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity. He was named Archbishop of Quebec City and Primate of Canada by Pope John Paul II in 2002 and raised to the College of Cardinals by the same Pontiff II in 2003.

In Quebec, Cardinal Ouellet has battled to restore the faith in a province whose strong Catholic heritage has been largely replaced by secularism. The popular hostility to Catholicism that now dominates Quebec was in evidence earlier this year, when the cardinal drew vicious criticism for his public opposition to abortion.

The outgoing prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, Cardinal Re, has held that position since September 2000. The Italian prelate, who has served his entire priestly career in Vatican offices, is now retiring at the age of 76.

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  • Posted by: edward.hadas2857 - Jul. 01, 2010 6:38 AM ET USA

    Watch this man. He could well be the next Pope: North American but not from the US; a Communio theologian (like both JPII and Benedict XVI) and well versed in the challenges of secularism.

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