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Sexual assault accusations hit man who could have become Canada's first pope

Ouellet was said to be the leading candidate for Pope until future Pope Francis emerged as a compromise candidate in 2013

} Canadian cardinal Marc Ouellet walks on St Peter's square after a meeting on the second day of pre-conclave on March 5, 2013 at the Vatican.
Canadian Cardinal Mark Ouellet, after the second day of the pre-conclave Walking on Pietro Square on March 5, 2013 in the Vatican. Photo by Alberto Pizzoli/AFP via Getty Images/File

Until this week, Cardinal Mark Ouellet of Quebec is a candidate to replace the Pope. Francis was considered to be the first Canadian pope in history.

Instead, a sexual assault charge brought in a Quebec court could permanently deter Ouellet's rapid rise within his Roman Catholic Church. I have.

Born in the rural town of La Motte, Quebec, Ouellet is considered a standard-bearer for the more conservative faction of the Catholic Church. He is a longtime ally of former Pope Benedict XVI, whose pre-pope writings are best known for his defense of Catholic traditionalism.

At his most recent papal conference in 2013, Ouellet was the leading candidate for pope until future Pope Francis — Argentinian Cardinal Jorge his Mario Bergoglio — emerged as a sudden compromise candidate. I was told there is. Ouellet's front-runner status was so well known at the time that his hometown was forced to be prepared for emergencies if it suddenly became a Catholic pilgrimage site. .

The details of the papal conclave are, of course, a tightly guarded secret of the Vatican, but leaked details released by the Italian media show that Ouellet is evenly matched with the Cardinals in the first round of voting. claimed it was. Angelo Scola from Italy.

According to the Italian daily Il Sole 24 Ore, even when Scola declined to run over concerns about his status as a Vatican insider, Ouellet saw his Bergoglio on the rise through subsequent voting rounds. and remained "very close".

The Canadians eventually won the election for Francis, urging his supporters to support the Argentines. Ouellet reportedly made the pitch on the grounds of hemispheric solidarity.

  1. Cardinal Marc Ouellet, left, talks with Cardinal Vincent Nichols, before the start of an event at the Vatican on October 12, 2019. Quebec Cardinal Marc Ouellet has been accused of sexual assault in a class-action lawsuit against the Catholic Church in Quebec.

    Quebec Cardinal Marc Ouellet accused of sexual assault in class action lawsuit


    Hometown disappointment when Ouellet was not elected Pope


    Ouellet will bring "strong solidarity" as Pope

Ouellet, who many believe is 78, still has ambitions to eventually succeed Francis. In a 2021 feature article in the independent Catholic newspaper La Croix, at a time when many cardinals are settling for retirement, Ouellet will host a major Roman symposium on the future of the priesthood. I pointed out that I was leading A sign that "friendly" Canadians "wear hats to the ring" for the Pope.

This same publication also attracted attention in 2018. Ouellett openly defended Francis against explosive accusations by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano that the Pope had covered up former Cardinal Theodore his McCarric. Over the decades, he has sexually assaulted a string of boys.

Although Vigano called on Francis to resign immediately over the matter, Ouellet became the first high-ranking Catholic to defend the Pope after being publicly criticized. rice field.

"I have concluded that your accusation is a political gimmick with no substantive basis to incriminate the Pope. Again, it deeply hurts the fellowship of the Church."

La Croix wrote that at the time, at a time when many Catholic traditionalists were hardening the Pope's next choice, the letter was a smart political move for Ouellet. It is written that it was

A complaint filed in the Quebec High Court this week alleges that Ouellet was repeatedly responsible for needlessly touching a woman identified only as "F." At an event in Quebec City in 2010, Ouellet kissed her F on her cheek, hugged her, slid her hand over her F's back, and touched her buttocks. It is said that

"That day, more than her previous meetings, F realized that she had to escape from Cardinal Mark Ouellet. The anxiety she felt was more present than ever. I read the filing.

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