Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet has just been elevated to a more prominent and acutely consequential role in the church. He didn’t get there by mincing words for political correctness.

He’s used to the spotlight, and uses it well.

During Cardinal Ouellet’s eight years as the archbishop of Quebec City and primate of Canada, he has become known as one of the country’s greatest defenders of faith, life, and the family.

This past spring he drew sharp criticism, from within and outside the Church, after he reaffirmed the Church’s teaching on the sanctity of unborn life, even in cases of rape. He later unapologetically reiterated his views on abortion in a press conference arranged to address the controversy.

He has drawn attention and fire, and Ouellet has welcomed it. The head of the Quebec bishops’ assembly has criticized Ouellet for his public witness, saying: “There are times when it is more important to keep silent than to speak.”

It gave him the opportunity to respond

that in addition to fearlessly preaching the teachings of the Church, bishops must embrace them deeply.  “Then you have the power of conviction,” he said.

“If you state it only formally and in the end you do not really want to see it applied because you don’t believe that it is possible that people accept it, you are in trouble for the transmission of the message,” he added.

The cardinal, further, said the Church needs what [the Canadian Catholic News] called a “new intellectual dynamism” to “recapture the spirit of Christianity” and “create a new Christian culture.”

“We need intellectuals for that, theologians, philosophers, Christians who really believe in the Gospel and share the doctrine of the Church on moral questions,” he said.  “We have suffered from this mentality of dissent” that is “still dominating the intelligentsia.”
“There is no real discipleship there, real discipleship,” he added. “The discipleship that is emerging is from those who believe and who really love the Church.”

Oulett’s new job suits him and the church well.

In his new position as head of the Congregation for Bishops, Cardinal Ouellet will assist the pope in choosing the next generation of the world’s bishops.

In that role, he told [Canadian Catholic News], he will seek out bold “men of faith” with “the guts to help people live it out.”

Can’t come soon enough.

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....