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Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children.

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Irish Elk
Wednesday, October 22, 2003  
Ouellet of Canada: Quebec Archbishop Marc Ouellet has been elevated to cardinal and Primate of Canada. Will he be the next pope?

From the Globe and Mail, some background on Quebec's new cardinal:

Archbishop Ouellet, a Sulpician priest, has impeccable academic credentials but less experience as a pastor. He is an expert on Hans Urs von Balthasar, a conservative theologian the Pope greatly admires.

Supporters maintain it is simplistic to label Archbishop Ouellet's beliefs as conservative.
Nevertheless, in less than a year as archbishop in Quebec City, leading the so-called mother church of all dioceses north of Mexico, Archbishop Ouellet has made headlines with his forceful calls for a return to a larger role for the Roman Catholic Church.

"Quebec is languishing, far from the values that were the strength and glory of her forebears," he said at his Jan. 26 installation, in a homily that warned against "the idolatry of money, sex and the power of the media."

The province's low birth rate and its high number of teen suicides are "the sign of the gravest deficiency now ailing Quebec society: forgetting its spiritual heritage, its martyrs and its saints," he added in that speech.

In an another address, made before the Assembly of Quebec Bishops last March, he said the church shouldn't shy away from stating its views on marriage, considering "the massive influence" of the media on lawmakers and "the spectacular gains" of special-interest groups.

Marriage has a divine origin and is "by nature a social institution created by God to propagate the human species," he argued.

While he has expressed sympathy for gay people, "socially, you cannot place homosexual unions and the family on the same footing, otherwise you are touching at a most intimate fibre of our identity," he said in an interview with Le Soleil newspaper in January.

In another controversial interview with the same daily, he criticized school teachers for what he called their "Marxist" approach to education, holding them responsible for young people's "wretched ignorance" about Roman Catholicism.

As the second-in-command at the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity from 2001 until last year, Archbishop Ouellet has had opportunities to practise his diplomacy in the ecumenical world.

He has recalled how he worried — needlessly, it turned out — about offending Greek Orthodox officials visiting the Vatican who were shown relics pilfered from Constantinople by the Crusaders.

The Western Catholic Reporter weekly recounted how he got a standing ovation for his tactful manners during a conference for interchurch families in 1999.

The new cardinal-in-waiting said Sunday that he was so surprised when the papal nuncio told him of his selection that he asked him to repeat it. He said he then prayed in gratitude.

The third of a family of eight children from small-town Abitibi, he is a well-travelled 59-year-old who speaks French, English, Spanish, German and Italian. Although he has been rector at St. Joseph's Seminary in Edmonton and at Montreal's Grand Seminary, he has spent large parts of his life overseas, studying in Europe, teaching in Colombia and working at the Vatican.

Fr Sibley from the land of Evangeline doffs his biretta * The ceremonies in Rome sparked a rush on the clothiers to the cardinals * The motto on Cardinal Ouellet's arms will appeal to Acadian Bill Cork * Make an online visit to the churches of Quebec and to Cardinal Ouellet's order, the Sulpicians.

I hadn't realized the original script of the Hitchcock film I Confess, set in Quebec, had the priest hanged at the end:

Hitchcock’s reasons for locating the film in Quebec were complex, but basically French Canada was as close as he could get to the play’s original setting. Quebec in 1952 had an Old World quality, and was noted for its architecture of medieval flavour; also, the city was the only one in North America where priests still wore the cassock, a garment that suggests its wearer combines male and female qualities. With its sloping, narrow streets, and flights of steps and stairs, Quebec City prefigures the San Francisco of Vertigo (1958). A memorable flashback shows a radiant Ruth coming down a spiral staircase to greet her lover, Logan, outside her home. Here the staircase echoes the one in Elia Kazan’s A Streetcar Named Desire (1951). Kazan’s film is set in another French-American city, New Orleans, and Hitchcock astutely made a connection. Logan later descends a curving staircase of a different kind, in the courthouse, to face an angry mob who believe him a murderer. In fact, steps and stairs are everywhere in I Confess, like a secular version of the Stations of the Cross.


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