Cardinal Ouellet to Head Bishops' Congregation

Also Named President of Latin America Commission

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 30, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Today, Benedict XVI appointed Cardinal Marc Ouellet, archbishop of Quebec, as prefect of the Congregation for Bishops and president of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.



Cardinal Ouellet, 66, succeeds Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, 76, who resigned for reasons of age.

Born in La Motte, near Amos, Quebec, Marc Ouellet was ordained a priest for the Amos Diocese in 1968.

Two years later, Father Ouellet was sent to Bogota, Colombia, to teach philosophy in the seminary, which was at that time headed by priests of the Society of St. Sulpice. In 1972, he joined the Sulpicians.

The priest next went to Rome to pursue his studies, and obtained a licentiate in philosophy from St. Thomas Aquinas Pontifical University in 1974.

He was invited back to Colombia, to teach at the seminary in Manizales, but then he was called back to Canada as a professor for the seminary in Montreal, Quebec.

After returning to Rome for a doctorate, Father Ouellet went back to Colombia, where he taught for a year in the seminary in Cali. He later was appointed rector of the Manizales seminary, where he served from 1984 to 1989.

He was named rector of the Montreal seminary, where he worked until 1994, when he was given the same position at St. Joseph Seminary in Edmonton, Alberta.

Father Ouellet returned to Rome, where he held the Chair of Dogmatic Theology of the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, at the Lateran Pontifical University, from 1996 to 2002.

Pope John Paul II appointed him secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity in March 2001. The Pontiff himself ordained Father Ouellet a bishop that same month in St. Peter's Basilica.

Bishop Ouellet was appointed archbishop of Quebec in 2002, and he took up his post on January 26, 2003. Months later, he was named a cardinal.

Vatican dicasteries

Cardinal Ouellet has served as consultor to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith as well as to the Congregation for Clergy.

He has most recently been serving as consultor to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments; advisor to the Pontifical Commission for Latin America; and member of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses.

The cardinal is also a member of the Pontifical Academy of Theology, the Congregation for Catholic Education, and the Council of Cardinals for the Study of Organizational and Economic Affairs of the Holy See.

Benedict XVI appointed him as General Relator for the 12th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on "The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church," which was held in October 2008.

The Congregation for Bishops is responsible for selecting new bishops, planning the Papal audiences during the episcopal five-yearly visits to Rome, and organizing the creation of new dioceses.

The Pontifical Commission for Latin America, which falls under this congregation, deals with matters pertaining the Church in that region.