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Pope names new head for Dicastery for Bishops

January 30, 2023

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CWN Editor's Note: Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Marc Ouellet as prefect of the Dicastery for Bishops, and named an American-born prelate, Bishop Robert Prevost, to replace him.

Cardinal Ouellet has served since 2010 as head of the powerful dicastery, formerly known as the Congregation for Bishops, which organizes the appointments of new bishops throughout the world. In the formal announcement of his resignation, the Vatican press office noted that the Canadian cardinal had reached retirement age; in fact, at 78, he had reached that age three years ago.

Bishop Prevost, an Augustinian priest, has been serving since 2015 as Bishop of Chiclayo, Peru; he had previously served as a missionary in that country. From 2001 to 2013 he was superior general of the Augustinian order.

Bishop Prevost will take up his new responsibilities in April, and will assume the title of archbishop. He will also succeed Cardinal Ouellet as president of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.

Last year a Canadian woman charged Cardinal Ouellet with sexual assault. The cardinal vigorously denied the charge, and has filed a lawsuit in Quebec, charging his accuser with defamation. Pope Francis last year determined that determined “there are insufficient elements to open a canonical investigation” of the charges agains the cardinal.

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