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Vatican protests French court ruling against Cardinal Ouellet

April 15, 2024

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CWN Editor's Note: The Vatican has lodged a formal diplomatic protest of a French court’s decision that held Cardinal Marc Ouellet responsible for the “wrongful dismissal” of a nun from her religious community.

The court ruled that Cardinal Ouellet— who at the time was prefect of the Dicastery for Bishops— had acted improperly when he signed a decree dismissing Mother Marie Ferréol from the Dominicans of the Holy Spirit. The court ordered a payment of over €200,000 for “material and moral damage” caused by her dismissal.

In its protest, filed with the French embassy to the Holy See, the Vatican Secretariat of State questioned whether the French court had claimed authority to rule on the application of the Church’s canon law. If so, remarked Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruno, “it might have constituted a serious violation of the fundamental rights to religious freedom and freedom of association of Catholic faithful.”

Bruni also said that the Vatican had received no notice of the French court case, and learned about it “only from the press.”

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