Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, a prominent prelate who holds the position of Prefect of the Dicastery of Bishops, has been added to the list of senior church officials associated with an abuse case. His name appears in a collective complaint filed by more than 100 victims against the Diocese of Quebec, pointing to 88 people between representatives of the Church and local officials of the institution allegedly responsible for sexual assaults from the 1940s. . Ouellet, who was Archbishop of Quebec from 2002 to 2010, is currently not facing criminal charges Radio Canada.
The case dates back to those years. The victim, a former intern, is a woman who identifies herself as F., who volunteered as a pastoral worker. The abuses took place during public events, according to the lawsuit. “He grabbed me and then… his hands went pretty much behind my back,” said the complainant, who… told what happened to the program Survey. “Pretty pushy to be, say, my superior, the Archbishop of Quebec.” According to his version, the cardinal told him that there was nothing wrong with a little socializing. “That made me feel really uncomfortable,” she complained.
This behavior was repeated several times. “I felt persecuted. It got more and more intense, more and more intense, to the point where I stopped attending the events. I tried to avoid his presence as much as possible,” the victim continued. The Archdiocese of Quebec is aware of the charges against the cardinal, as it has acknowledged when asked, but has declined to comment further on the complaint.
The lawyer representing the complainants recalls that at that time, as archbishop, Ouellet had the last word on the institution’s staff contracts. “At that time you have a young woman in her twenties facing a powerful man in a position of authority, known worldwide at the time, who was perhaps 60 years old,” the lawyer emphasized. In addition, when the victim decided to talk to those around her about her fear, she was told that the Cardinal is an elaborate man and that she was not the only woman who had had this kind of “problem” with him, according to the text of the complaint.
A priest who was then commanded by the cardinal in the diocese and who has agreed to testify on condition of anonymity told Radio-Canada that there were rumors of Ouellet’s behavior, is now 78 years old. years old. . When he heard the story of the complaining woman, he believed her. “It came as a sheriff who came to bring order to the diocese of Quebec, they sent him from Rome,” he recalls. Ouellet returned to the Vatican in 2010 and was promoted to prefect of the Dicastery of Bishops, the body that selects the high officials of the Church. That same year he became a cardinal. In 2018, the cardinal mounted a tight defense of the pope when he was accused by former Washington nuncio Carlo Maria Viganò of covering up the abuses of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, and he called for his resignation.
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The complaint, which documents even more serious cases involving clergy less prominent than Ouellet, comes three weeks after Pope Francis undertook a pastoral trip to Canada. During the trip, which the Pope himself described as a “penitent pilgrimage,” he apologized for the Church’s abuses in the old boarding schools for indigenous minors. The Pope’s apology stirred emotions; however, they did not please everyone and also drew criticism for not going beyond words.
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